Rhine-Alpine News

Port of Genoa: Contract for roadwork awarded

Photo: Port of Genoa

Genoa: In December 2019 the contract for the road works was awarded, as contained in the Extraordinary Program of urgent interventions for the recovery and development of the Port of Genoa. Its total cost is 128 million Euros.

The assignment went to RTI Pizzarotti & CSpA, which will design and carry out the road constructions: Several road segments, a car park, a bridge, as well as securing the Pionieri d’Italia viaduct and the static consolidation of Ponte dei Mille.

Read the news here (external link, Italian language).

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Another main bridge across the Rhine temporarily closed

Photo (Heidas/Wikimedia): Heuss-Brücke

Mainz/Wiesbaden: The “Heuss-Brücke”, linking the twin cities of Mainz and Wiesbaden across the Rhine, will be closed for maintenance until mid-February. The bridge, built in late 19th century, rebuilt after the last war, and thoroughly modernized in the early nineties, needs more repair.

The Heuss-Brücke has been closed for heavy trucks already in the nineties. However, it is the only connection between Mainz and Wiesbaden besides two Autobahn bridges. Its closure has no direct impact to long distance traffic, except by re-routed traffic that may add to congestion on the Autobahn routes. The main effect is on the local traffic between both cities. However, there will be a single lane open for taxies and buses, and the bridge will remain fully open for pedestrians and cyclists.

Read more here (external link, German language).

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Corridor: Swiss transport industry demands extensions

Illustration: HUPAC

Switzerland: Swiss operator of combined transport HUPAC and other main actors in the Swiss transport sector have assessed the developments around the Rhine-Alpine corridor. They demand an international contract (“Staatsvertrag”) for increased capacity, including utilization of additional parallel routes:

“It is evident that there is an urgent need to create an alternative for the bottleneck in the north. Only the left bank of the Rhine via France can be considered as an efficient alternative route (flat track). It is ideal for the high-volume Belgium – Italy route. There is also a direct link with the corridor on the right bank of the Rhine, which serves to reduce risk. However, these routes do not yet correspond to the corridor parameters of the Swiss transit axis and therefore currently only carry a small volume of traffic.

In order to make better use of the capacities on these alternative routes for combined transport through Switzerland, the Zeebrugge/Antwerp – Strasbourg – Basel route and the Wörth – Lauterbourg – Strasbourg link must be upgraded to the parameters of 740m train length, 4m corner height, 2000 t with one locomotive, ETCS. This would also create a system in the north with two access routes and an alternative on the left bank of the Rhine.”

Read the whole statement (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

DEMOLITION OF ELEVATED HIGHWAY: FIRST STEP FOR SOLVING TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE

Photo (Stadt Ludwigshafen): Traffic blocked underneath the closed highway.

Ludwigshafen / Mannheim: Elevated highways in Ludwigshafen feed the two road bridges across the Rhine between Mannheim and Ludwigshafen.  One of them, opened in 1959, was considered unsafe for traffic last August and has further deteriorated since. A segment of roughly half a kilometre may now be unable to carry its own weight. This led to closure of all urban traffic underneath, including streetcar lines. What already was a difficult situation for regional traffic, causing digestion even across the Rhine in Mannheim, now is extremely problematic also for urban connections in Ludwigshafen.

Demolition of the old structure will start at the end of the month. The planning process for a replacement has started, but construction will take many years. Meanwhile, the town’s largest employer, BASF, warns that traffic condition in city and region will seriously affect business.

Read more info here (external link, German language).

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Belgium: Seven leading players sign collaboration agreement for hydrogen transport

Photo: Port of Antwerp

Antwerp / Zeebrugge: Hydrogen has an important role in significantly reducing CO2 emissions. That’s why Deme, Engie, Exmar, Fluxys, Port of Antwerp, Port of Zeebrugge and WaterstofNet have teamed up. A joint study will form the basis for a number of concrete projects to produce, transport and store hydrogen.

In the first phase the partners will carry out a joint analysis of the end-to-end chain of importation and transport of hydrogen. The objective is to map out the financial, technical and regulatory aspects of the various links in the supply chain. This includes production, loading/unloading and transport by sea and by pipeline. The results of the analysis will provide a roadmap showing the best way to carry hydrogen for the various applications in the energy and chemical sectors. The analysis is expected to take around one year to complete.

Read the press statement here (external link).

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Vado Gateway set to transform logistics in northern Italy

Photo (APM terminals): New Vado Ligure terminal.

Vado Ligure: The new Vado Gateway container terminal in Vado Ligure was opened in December 2019. It is the result of a 450-million-euro investment. APM Terminals, with a share of 50.1%, has invested 180 million in the project, a further 43 million has been provided by project financing. Chinese Partners Cosco Shipping Ports have a 40% share and Qingdao Port International a 9.9% share. The terminal was commissioned by Autorità di Sistema Portuale del Mar Ligure Occidentale (Western Ligurian Sea System Port Authority). It will now entrust APM Terminals with the management of the facility for the next 50 years.

The Vado Gateway terminal is a hub for cargo moving to markets north of Italy, such as Switzerland, Germany or north-east France. The new terminal has already secured two important services operated by A.P. Moller-Maersk. Once fully operating, Vado Gateway capacity will amount to circa 900,000 TEUs per year. APM Terminals’ target is to move 40% of containers to and from Vado Gateway by rail.

Read the press statement here (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

River cruising on the Rhine

In the calm days “between the years”, this newsletter also goes for a relaxing subject: River cruising on the Rhine and its tributaries.

The Rhine has been important for passenger transport since old. With railways being much faster than boats, and with individual transport taking over market shares, scheduled passenger transport was largely reduced to local lines with a strong touristic interest.

However, in parallel, operators have also offered trips on cabin cruise ships for decades. Now, these trips have become a mass phenomenon. Of the more than 300 larger river cruise ships in Europe, roughly half operate on the Rhine and its tributaries.

Photo (Martin Brandt): Classic cruise ship from the days before the boom

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The cruise experience

Compared to sea going cruise ships, the boats on the Rhine are rather small, typically carrying around 150 and sometimes up to 200 passengers, and staffed with about 40 people. Locks on the upper Rhine as well as on the rivers of Main and Mosel limit the size of the ships to a maximum length of 135 meters, as they do with freighters.

The classic route is between Rotterdam and Basel, with stops at the main touristic highlights, like Cologne, Loreley rock, and Strasbourg. Others go for the tributary rivers, often combining them with the central Rhine valley. As a result, the famous valley sees a good 20 cruise ships on any day throughout the season. While the main season is from spring to autumn, Christmas and New Year cruises are also rather popular. Therefore, many passengers will celebrate New Year at the famous tourist spots along the river.

Photo (Martin Brandt): Contemporary cruise ship navigating the Rhine valley

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The industry

Given the number of available beds, the total size of the rapidly expanding industry can be estimated to reach roughly a million passengers per year, and a yearly turnover of more than a billion Euros. Passengers spend additional money on shore and for travelling to and from the boats. Staffing, catering and ship maintenance have become important economic factors along the Rhine. However, this is not in the focus of transport related politics and thus often is overlooked, despite its growth and economic importance. Fortunately, the river itself is no bottleneck.

The relatively small size of the ships allows adjusting individual ships to separate markets. Leading operators run fleets of more than a dozen ships. Brands differ in markets and levels of comfort, perhaps more so than in itineraries. Many of the passengers are overseas tourists, usually of mature age, a rapidly growing segment in international tourism. 

Photo (Martin Brandt): Cruise ships anchoring at Cologne port for winter

While guides evaluating sea-going cruises have been published for many years, the evolving mass market also made guides for inland cruises appear; they can easily be found on the net and are specialized in information on the touristic side of the business.

Rhine-Alpine News

Progress on river crossings in Duisburg and Karlsruhe

Photo (Carschten/Wikimedia): Existing Rhine Bridge Neuenkamp

Duisburg: An extended eight-lane bridge, called “Rheinbrücke Neuenkamp”, will ease out a bottleneck on the German Autobahn A 40, which via A 3 and A 57 connects the Netherlands with Düsseldorf and Cologne and is a key infrastructure for the river port at Duisburg.

Andreas Scheuer, German Minister of Infrastructure and Telecommunications, has started the construction work with a ground breaking ceremony on 16 December. Costs are estimated to be 365 million Euros for the new road link of 4.4 km, including 250 million for the bridge itself. Special efforts are made for noise protection.

Read the whole news here (external link, German language).

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Karlsruhe: The work of renovating the main bridge that crosses the upper Rhine between Karlsruhe and Wörth will be finalized until the end of the year. Road closures had caused traffic problems on several weekends in the past, and because of the construction work the bridge had not been operating at full capacity for years.

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Cruise ship and river barge collide on Rhine

Speyer: During the late evening of 19 December, a cruise ship going downstream collided with a tank motor ship going upstream, at Speyer near Mannheim. The «MS Thurgau Prestige» carried 103 passengers and 36 staff members, the freighter carried about 2000 tons of petrol. About 20 cruise passengers were hurt. Some were transported to nearby hospitals for checks of mostly minor injuries. No petrol was discharged during the accident. The cause of the accident is yet unknown.

Read the police report here (external link, German language).

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Rhine-Alpine Corridor Conference on 19 June 2020 in Strasbourg

Corridor Conference

Strasbourg: Next spring the Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor EGTC will commemorate its 5th founding anniversary. On that occasion, the 2nd Rhine-Alpine Corridor Conference will take place on 19 June 2020 in the European Parliament. 

The Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor EGTC is a successful example of cross border cooperation in a very large area, i.e. the TEN-T Core Network Corridor between Rotterdam/Antwerp and Genoa. Starting off with 10 founding members, the EGTC has grown to 25 members now. The members are regions/provinces, cities and large ports from six countries along the Rhine-Alpine Corridor. This EGTC is hence an appropriate organisation to function as an important stakeholder for the development of this Corridor, representing the interests of its members with one voice. The EGTC operates also as Lead Partner or partner in several EU-funded projects.

The choice of the legal form „EGTC“ has proven to be the best solution for such an interregional cooperation. The Conference in Strasbourg is thus also an interesting occasion to roll out EGTC’s to other cooperation spaces willing to organise their work on a solid legal basis, i.e. an „EGTC.“

Save the date and watch for updates!

Rhine-Alpine News

Metropolitan Region Rhine-Neckar: HyPerformer on Hydrogen

Photo: (c) NOW GmbH / Franz Josef

The Metropolitan Region Rhine-Neckar (MRN) is among the winners of the national competition „HyLand“ on hydrogen regions in Germany.  As the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) announced, the region will receive a total of 20 million Euros in the category “HyPerformer” for putting into practice the concept for integrated expansion of hydrogen use and for creating related added value.

The regional development corporation Regionalentwicklungsgesellschaft Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar GmbH (MRN GmbH) leads the consortium „H2 Rivers“ with 18 partners from its region as well as from Stuttgart Region. This will result in an investment of 61 million Euros and will include e.g. a high-pressure filling installation, H2 gas stations, and cars, buses, garbage trucks and road maintenance vehicles with fuel cell technology.

Read the full news here (external link, German language).

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LNG projects in Genoa port

The Pilot Committee of the European project GNL Facile (co-financed by the EU through the Interreg Italy-France Maritime program) met in Genoa, at the headquarters of Liguria Region. It involves the Chambers of Commerce of Corsica and Var and the Port System Authorities of Liguria, Tuscany Region and Sardinia Region. The project aims to reduce the use of polluting fuels in ports as required by EU, seeking small-scale solutions for the supply of LNG to land and sea vehicles.

Based on in-depth assessments of relevant regulations and safety implications, the project plans to implement and test mobile stations to supply LNG to trucks, operational vehicles and boats.

In parallel, the actual energy consumption of all operators active within the port area will be calculated from disaggregated data provided by port operators through questionnaires distributed by the RETE-LNG project.

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Inland Ports welcome Green Deal

Photo: (c) duisport / Frank Reinhold

The European Union’s Commission President von der Leyen presented her long-awaited Green Deal for Europe. It aims to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030 with the European economy being wholly carbon-neutral by 2050. Given this ambitious objective, the Green Deal will touch all parts of the European economy and society. 

The European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) welcomes the Green Deal’s aim and proposals. As “Enablers of Green Logistics”, inland ports are convinced that they are essential in the achievement of a carbon-neutral Europe. Their role as multimodal hubs bringing together low-emissions modes of transport and promoting smart city logistics solutions will be key in the transition to smart and sustainable mobility.

The renewed support for the modal shift to cleaner forms of transport will prove vital to reaching emission reduction targets. In order for waterborne transport to fully decarbonise, inland ports will need to be able to develop the necessary infrastructure but this requires a clear roadmap outlining the path forward. The review of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive and the proposed legal initiatives to increase the uptake of alternative fuels are thus welcomed and will be of paramount importance to the evolution of the sector. Finally, European inland ports welcome the proposed initiatives on digital and smart logistics.

Read the news here (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

Rotterdam: First rail connection with Herne, Germany – 6 round trips per week

Photo (Port of Rotterdam): Trains at APM terminal.

In late September, the port of Rotterdam’s rail network gained another new node. In its role of rail operator, APM’s container terminal in Rotterdam launched a direct rail connection with Container Terminal Herne GmbH – a stone’s throw from the cities of Bochum and Gelsenkirchen.

The service is executed by Rotterdam Rail Feeding (RRF), which despatches a train from the APM-II terminal at Maasvlakte to the Ruhr Area and vice versa three times a week, to be increased to six departures per week in late 2019. ‘This means we can offer our clients a swift and reliable connection with this area – the first of its kind in Rotterdam,’ explains APM’s Head of Commerce Management Roy de Haan.

Read the full news here (external link).

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Port of Antwerp cooperates world wide

In 2019 Port of Antwerp signed MoUs (Memoranda of Understanding) with ports all over the world. Various project teams from the different ports are working towards wider partnership aimed at facing the challenges of the future together and achieving higher levels of performance. The first MoU of the year was signed with Montreal Port Authority. This was an extension and broadening of another agreement signed in 2016. Under the new MoU a project plan is being set up focusing on solutions for mobility, energy transition, sustainability and security.   

This was followed by MoUs with Port of Buenos Aires, Port of New York New Jersey and the French umbrella organisation Hauts-de-France. These smaller agreements concerned shared promotion activities and more intensive collaboration.

Read more details here (external link).

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Comprehensive facts on inland navigation published

The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine, the international body to uphold the principle of the freedom of navigation on the Rhine, has published its 2019 “Market Insight – Inland Navigation in Europe”. The report has detailed statistics about many aspects of commercial navigation and existing infrastructures. Due to its importance as a transport axis, the Rhine is prominently featured. Some highlights:

Transport performance on inland waterways in the European Union in Q1 2019 recovered from the low water period in the second half of 2018. Indeed, with a value of 37.5 billion tonne-kilometres in Q1 2019, transport performance was 30 % higher than in Q4 2018, a period during which the Rhine, the Danube and the Elbe suffered heavily from low waters.

Among the three countries with the highest IWW transport performance in the EU (Germany, the Netherlands, Romania) in Q1 2019, the growth rate in Q1 2019 compared to Q4 2018 was the highest in Germany (+62 %), which was mainly a result of the resumption of transports on the Rhine on a large scale.

Read or download the report here (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

Port of Antwerp to double rail share of hinterland transport

Photo: Port of Antwerp

The port of Antwerp and Belgian rail infrastructure operator Infrabel agreed to work towards roughly doubling the rail share of the port’s hinterland transport by the year 2030. 

The port authority cites the combination of a growing port, increased pressure on the road network and ambitious environmental objectives that make a modal shift absolutely necessary. The Port of Antwerp is working hard on promoting and supporting road transport alternatives. The share of rail transport in the port’s total cargo traffic only amounts to 7 percent today. To double this percentage by 2030, the Port Authority established Railport. With different partners (other rail operators,  Infrabel, etc.) Railport launches innovative projects. They must ensure that both rail transport within the port and connections with other European hubs are as efficient and reliable as possible. Measures are to include all kinds of cargo, including bulk and container. They willl thus have a huge impact on rail infrastructures to and from Antwerp.

Read more about the port of Antwerp’s rail plans here (external link).

Enlargement of Genoa airport

Photo: Signing ceremony at Genoa Town Hall

The architectural firm One Works is currently carrying out the final design of the extension of the „Cristoforo Colombo“ terminal at Genoa airport by revising and adapting the original project, approved by ENAC in 2011, including the definitive design of the new baggage handling system. This will allow the start of preparatory work by the end of this year, with the adaptation of underground utilities. The new terminal will be bright, comfortable and environmentally friendly.

Adina-Ioana Vălean is the new Commissioner for Transport

Photo (European Union 2019): Adina-Ioana Vălean at the Parliament’s Hearing

Romanian MEP Adina-Ioana Vălean is the new Commissioner for Transport in the new European Commission. She is a member of the European Peoples party and became a Member of the European Parliament on 1 January 2007, with the accession of Romania to the European Union.

Vălean has since been serving on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. She was the Parliament’s rapporteur for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and the European Union roaming regulations. From 2014 to 2017, Vălean was one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, in charge of information and communications technology (ICT). She chaired the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety from 2017 until 2019. Furthermore, she held positions related to international affairs and the Committee on Petitions.

Vălean has a master’s degree in European Integration and Security Studies, postgraduate studies in National Security and Defence Management, and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She served as teacher of mathematics before her full-time political career.

Find the full CV of Adina-Ioana Vălean here (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

Another main bridge collapsed at Ligurian coast

Near Savona, at the Ligurian coast in Italy, a motorway bridge collapsed on 24 November during a mud avalanche after heavy rainfall. No casualties are reported. The collapsed bridge was opened in 1976 and held the northbound lanes of motorway A6, connecting Savona with the Turin area across the coastal mountains. The motorway had originally been opened in 1960 as a three-lane highway. It was later converted into a four-lane highway by adding a separate northbound driveway. The older road now holds the southbound lanes. Its apparently undamaged bridge was closed for inspection, being in close vicinity of the accident site.

This will be of relevance for hinterland traffic to and from Savona, where the new Vado Ligure maritime container terminal is to open in December. Resulting detours may further complicate the situation in Genova. Worldwide, according to Wikipedia (external link) this is already the 10th collapse of a significant bridge since the Morandi bridge accident in Genova on 14 August 2018.

Find more about the motorway A6 here (external link, Italian language / German languageEnglish language).

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Results of project „RAISE-IT – Rhine-Alpine Integrated and Seamless Travel Chain“

Illustration: Rhine-Alpine Corridor with main nodes investigated by RAISE-IT

Results of RAISE-IT were presented at the Advisory Board meeting in Cologne on 8 November. The project deals with optimization of passenger transport along the Rhine-Alpine corridor. Topics are: Integrated cross-border timetable and services, stations as liveable and convenient gateways, and optimised transfer to and from regional trains.

The assessment revealed an additional potential demand for international long-distance services; an overall +60% with time-horizon 2035. Effective rail connections for all can be supplied by more frequent services, by improved railway capacity, or by other transport modes. However, improving regional accessibility and service integration also for non-frequent travellers from abroad should become an urgent issue, especially for nodes located on an international Corridor.

Locally, often the placement of signage is not consistent or visible, which confuses people when looking for their way. Secondly, ‘walkability’ analysis revealed a number of obstacles to pedestrian access (e.g. difficult crossing, long traffic lights phases, unpleasant subways, conflict between pedestrian routes and bike parking, etc.), especially in the areas close to the studied stations.

The EGTC Rhine-Alpine led the project, which was co-financed by Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Noriko Otsuka of ILS, Dortmund, Maurizio Arnone of LINKS Foundation, Torino, and Sebastian Wilske of Regionalverband Mittlerer Oberrhein presented the results.

Find more about RAISE-IT here.

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duisport welcomes German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Photo (duisport): President Steinmeier (right) at duisport with CEO Staake

On 22 November, Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the Port of Duisburg as part of his visit to the Ruhr region. He toured logport I with duisport Chief Executive Officer Erich Staake. The former site of the Krupp steel mill in Rheinhausen has given way to a booming 265-hectare logistics area that is now home to approximately 50 companies and more than 5,000 employees. Directly or indirectly, the Port of Duisburg employs over 47,000 people and is therefore the job engine in the Rhine-Ruhr region.

The second destination of President Steinmeier’s visit was duisport subsidiary startport. Started two years ago, the startup accelerator has grown into a platform for globally inspiring and innovative ideas for the logistics industry.

Find the news here (external link).

The day before the visit, the Swiss daily “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” featured the development of duisport and its contribution to regional economic development as well as its role in the „New Silk Road“. The elaborate article puts the facts into context for an interested general audience.

The article can be found here (external link, German language).

Rhine-Alpine News

Port throughputs of Rotterdam and Antwerp continue to grow

Photo (Port of Antwerp): Container handling

In the third quarter of 2019, the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp both report continuing growth.

The port of Rotterdam handled 112.4 million tonnes of freight during the third quarter of 2019. This means a total of 353.5 million tonnes has been transhipped up to the end of the third quarter. Compared with the previous year, this represents a 1% increase in cargo handling. Volume growth was mainly driven by containers, crude oil, LNG and biomass. There was a reduction in the transhipment of coal and mineral oil products.

The total freight volume handled by Port of Antwerp rose from January through September 2019 by 1.1% compared with the same period last year. The container volume (in TEU) was up by as much as 6.4%. However the slowdown in the world economy reduced the growth rate of more volatile trade flows such as conventional breakbulk, liquid bulk and vehicles. On the other hand the volume of dry bulk such as scrap metal, minerals and coal soared by 9.5%, further propelling the overall freight growth for Port of Antwerp.

Find details for Rotterdam here (external link).

Find details for Antwerp here (external link).

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Second road bridge across Rhine near Karlsruhe can be planned

The banks of the Rhine are heavily populated, but bridges are rare along the Upper Rhine. The existing bridges often are bottlenecks, as the situation around the Karlsruhe road bridge during the ongoing repair work shows – see our newsletter of 5 November. Locations for additional bridges usually are not easy to find, because of population density and ecological sensitivity.

Therefore, a recent verdict of the appeal court of administration for the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which in that region is governing the left bank of the Rhine, is of specific importance to regional transport development: The court of appeal has ruled that planning for an additional bridge in Germany can go ahead. It would connect Karlsruhe on the right bank and Wörth on the left bank and is heavily contested by environmentalists. Another lawsuit is still pending at the court of administration for the State of Baden-Württemberg, on the right side of the Rhine.

Find details here (external link, German language).

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Activities of Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine

Symbolic photo (© Deutsche Bahn AG / Uwe Miethe): Rail infrastructure

On the recent EGTC Rhine-Alpine’s Advisory Group meeting in Cologne, Dr. Christiane Warnecke, Managing Director of Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine EEIG, gave an “Update on Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine activities with focus on transport market study and performance management.” The group focused on the recent improvements and remaining challenges of infrastructure services, harmonisation, reliability, and the infrastructure itself.

In this context, the study has shown that longer trains would be the most important single measure to increase shift from road to rail, while it on the other hand will demand high investments: Even if the lines could handle longer trains, only few terminals have sufficient track length. Higher reliability would be a close second, with faster services following in third place. Routes with all three improvements in place would see a substantial rail freight increase.

The Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine EEIG is a cooperation of rail infrastructure managers along the Rhine-Alpine corridor.

Find out more (external link).

Rhine-Alpine News

EGTC Rhine-Alpine in Cologne:
10th General Assembly and 4th Advisory Board Meeting

Photo (Martin Brandt): This year’s meeting was hosted at Cologne, a main transport node at the Rhine-Alpine Corridor.

The EGTC Rhine-Alpine held its regular General Assembly and Advisory Board Meetings on 8 November 2019 in Cologne.

The Metropolitan Region Rheinland, an association of cities, counties and regional chambers, as the youngest member of the EGTC, was hosting the meeting. Henriette Reker, Chair of the Metropolitan Region and Mayor of the City of Cologne, welcomed the participants by video message.

The Advisory Board, gathering interested stakeholders from economy and research, discussed the currently developed Action Plan structured in five focus topics, i.e. Cross-border Issues, Resilience of the Corridor, Green Corridor, Smart Mobility/Digitalisation and Noise Reduction.

Furthermore, external speakers presented their view on corridor related issues.     

Thus, the Advisory Board welcomed Łukasz Wojtas, Policy Advisor of the Corridor Coordinator (European Commission, DG Move), who elaborated upon “The Rhine-Alpine Corridor in the overall context of the evolving TEN-T policy”.

Illustration: TEN-T corridors across Europe, including the Rhine-Alpine corridor (orange colour).

Mr. Wojtas pointed out that the EU transport corridors were developed by analysing the main urban areas in Europe as sources and sinks of traffic, and by studying the connections between them. Since the definition of the corridors, the main development priorities are:

  • Removal of critical bottlenecks,
  • Technical compliance,
  • Pursuing multimodality,
  • Finding innovative solutions,
  • Reducing external effects.

Current evaluation focuses on network planning, infrastructure, interrelation between infrastructure and its use, and implementation instruments.

Mathias Niedermaier and Markus Nollert of ETH Zürich presented the Corridor Study “New insights and challenges for action on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor Rail Network” commissioned by the EGTC.

Illustration (Niedermaier/Nollert): Findings of the study.

The study looked for data on bottlenecks and infrastructure projects. It then verified the findings in meetings with regional stakeholders, discussing the importance of the various thematic fields. The study gives an overview on today’s infrastructure as well as on traffic demand and traffic relations.

The authors advocate political targets for a desired level of infrastructure, as is done in Switzerland. Given the time range of planning, building and finally utilizing the infrastructure, they find it counterproductive to build the investment targets upon the various and changing projections of today, as usually done. The study will be debated among the EGTC in the coming months.

Upcoming newsletters will further present two other interesting presentations:

“Update on Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine activities with focus on transport market study and performance management”, by Dr. Christiane Warnecke, Managing Director of Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine EEIG.

“Results of the EGTC-led CEF Project ‘RAISE-IT – Rhine-Alpine Integrated and Seamless Travel Chain”.

With Dr. Thomas Ertel there now is a communication manager for the updated communication strategy. There is an active LinkedIn account, plus this weekly newsletter.

On 19 June 2020, the 2nd Corridor Conference will take place in Strasbourg, also commemorating the 5th anniversary of the founding of the EGTC.