Rhine-Alpine Talks – Corona and the Corridor

As a frontrunner in transnational cooperation, the EGTC started a new digital and public format for communication and exchange among the entire Rhine-Alpine community. The digital series “Rhine-Alpine Talks” provides room for information and exchange in relevant topics despite current restrictions caused by Covid19. The first regular edition of the “Rhine-Alpine Talks” took place on 3 July 2020, dealing with the topic “Corona and the Corridor”. 70 participants from 10 countries were registered.

Chair Christianne van der Wal welcomed MEP Caroline Nagtegaal, Alberto Pozzobon of Ports of Genoa and Christiane Warnecke, Managing Director of Rail Freight Corridor 1 (Rhine-Alpine) to share their experience on impacts and developments related to the topic “Corona and the Corridor”.

Caroline Nagtegaal gave an insight into the work of the Parliament’s TRAN committee around the crisis, highlighted especially the maritime aspects and related innovations to come and also made a link to implementation of the Green Deal.

Alberto Pozzobon reported about the severe impacts of the crisis on the Ports of Genoa with dropbacks in container traffic of up to 29% and complete shut down of cruise passenger traffic hitting the entire corresponding value chain. As for recovery measures, he reported about a port cluster subsidies and Maritime and Railway Transport incentives put in place for 2020.

Christiane Warnecke reported that international rail freight has been running well on the Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Railway undertakings and intermodal operators could attract traffic from road, where framework conditions for cross-border traffic were more difficult. Even though cross border traffic volumes dropped due to reduced economic activity during the pandemic, punctuality improved due to less intensive use of the available capacity at all stakeholders.

Presentation slides for download:

“Covid-19 Pandemic from the perspective of the Ports of Genoa” by Alberto Pozzobon, Ports of Genoa Marketing Manager

“Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on international rail freight on RFC RALP” by Dr. Christiane Warnecke, RFC1 Managing Director

“EGTC Communication Activities” by Dr. Thomas Ertel, EGTC Communication Manager

Other news of the week

Inland port energy study

Duisburg: The Fraunhofer “Umsicht” Institute is conducting a study regarding the energy consumption and its optimization in inland ports, with German federal support. They use Duisburg port as an example, since it is big enough to offer examples of practically all relevant aspects. The study is expected to be transferable to other ports. As a first step, the study group has now categorized the German inland ports along those indicators that they consider relevant for energy consumption. Here is the detailed press release (external link).

Colmar – Freiburg rail link to be reactivated?

Photo (CC / Philipp Guttmann): Road bridge at Breisach, using the bridge piers of the former rail bridge.

Breisach: A new and serious attempt is made to reopen the rail link between Colmar and Freiburg. The line, originally built in the 1870s, was interrupted when the Rhine bridge at Breisach was blown up during the end of World War II. The bridge piers are used for the road bridge since. However, except for the bridge, the remaining line is still intact.

Without a connecting through line across the Vosges Mountains west of Colmar, and with only a steep regional mountain line connecting across the Black Forest east of Freiburg, the rail link has always been mainly of regional use. However, with a distance between the cities of about 45 km, there apparently is a significant local potential. While the French part of the line sees just freight traffic, the German part already has relevant S-Bahn traffic.

A new study is under way. The 3.5m Euros will be shared between SNCF Réseau and DB Netz AG. Find details here (external link, German language), and more about the railway line here (external link, English language, French language, German language).