The EGTC endorses the Nijmegen EU Green Capital Declaration on smart and healthy regions, inland port cities and inland shipping sector adopted at the occasion of the Ports and the City conference held on 12-13 April 2018 in Nijmegen. The Declaration is available for download here: http://portsandthecity.nl/static/files/tinymce/uploads/PaC%20Decla%20A4B%20HR.pdf
The 1st Corridor Conference of the Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor EGTC took place on 7 June 2018 in the premises of the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. 120 particpants listened to 30 speakers and discussed varied issues in 5 thematic workshops: The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, the future priorities for the development of the Corridor, the results of CEF-funded project „European Rail Freight Line System“, experiences with the legal form of a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation and a visionary workshop.
After the workshops the political plenary session gathered panelists from academia, industry and politics discussion. Two keynote speeches from the EGTC Chair Conny Bieze and Corridor Coordinator Pawel Wolchiechowski set the frame for the panel dicussion. 5 panelists discussed about joint efforts for shaping the future of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor.
As a main result, the Conference underlined the importance of a joint and coordinated development of this important European Corridor. The EGTC was again recognised as the voice of the local and regional level of the Corridor, whose ideas, activities and committment were appreciated once more.
The Assembly has re-elected Ms. Conny Bieze as its Chairwoman for a second term at its meeting on 6 June 2018 in Brussels. Also Vice Chair Mr. Paolo Balistreri is confirmed for a second term. New Vice Chair is Mr. Rouven Kötter, Deputy Director of the Regional Association FrankfurtRheinMain.
We congratulate our new Chairs and wish them successful cooperation in the next three years!
The Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor EGTC invites you to the Rhine-Alpine Corridor Conference 2018 on 7 June 2018 in Brussels! Under the theme “Alliance for a Future-proof Rhine-Alpine Corridor – Joining Hands for a Resilient and Sustainable Development”, our Interregional Alliance presents a varied programme: During the conference, we and our expert speakers focus on current corridor issues, give insights on how to address these topics and explore new visions for the future development of our corridor.
Thematic workshops in the morning are followed by a political plenary session in the afternoon with an interactive panel discussion. We are proud to announce the European TEN-T Coordinator for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor as our keynote speaker.
The complete programme of the conference is provided here: Programme-Rhine-Alpine-Corridor-Conference
Registration is now open – please register until 29 May 2018!
The EGTC and its members strive for strengthening and coordinating the integrated development of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor as it is laid down in its Joint Strategy . This implies also supporting activities leading to a modal shift from road to rail and waterways, as well as activities reducing the negative impact of transport for the citizens.
The incident at the Rastatt tunnel construction site led to a closure of the railway section Rastatt – Baden-Baden from 12 August to 2 October 2017. This incident caused the disruption of the major international Rhine-Alpine Corridor with a tremendous impact and it undermined the EGTC’s objectives.
Although the accident occurred during less frequented months at summer season (150 instead of 200 trains a day), both freight and passenger transport were strongly affected. Alternative freight routes in Germany, France and Austria became accessible only gradually and with limited capacity. Hence, customer confidence in rail transport has been severely damaged.
Key problems identified are:
- The closure of only a small stretch of railway line leads to enormous consequences to the entire and interdependent Corridor;
- Incident has exposed rail as the weak part of the integrated and intermodal logistics chain;
- A lack of communication with other modes of transport in order to redirect freight;
- Limited use of the synchro modality concept, allowing to decide day-by-day about which mode to choose for a specific transport task;
- Coordination of construction planning along the Corridor and its neighbouring areas needs to be improved;
- Lack of viable and economically efficient alternatives for re-routing;
- ational technical and staff requirements with divergent standards proved to be an obstacle for seamless international transport.
Recommendations and necessary actions:
In line with the first development priority formulated in its Joint Strategy, the EGTC underlines the necessity of an improved Corridor wide coordination of infrastructure works and construction management. This includes the timely information on planned line closures or restrictions in order to provide for resilient and seamless transport operations. However, also operational accidents, natural hazards or any other kinds of incidents have to be considered.
Three steps for improvement:
- A prevailing consequence of the Rastatt incident is the necessity to ensure resilience for the Corridor. Therefore, we ask for a comprehensive risk analysis for the Corridor concerning main and alternatives routes, involving all relevant logistics stakeholders;
- On this basis, emergency plans for different risk scenarios need to be elaborated jointly, including relevant stakeholders and experts from all countries along the Corridor. Such plans should comprise adequate pre-defined alternative routes, fit for immediate use in case of necessity, applying the synchro modality approach.
- Finally, in order to implement the emergency plans, we suggest to establish an effective crisis management, which is ready for action if needed.
Furthermore, the following issues need to be taken in consideration:
- Improvements for (EU) investments and funding to reduce bottlenecks, also for alternative routes (TEN-T core and comprehensive routes);
- Harmonisation of standards in order to overcome national restrictions in regard to technical and staff incompatibilities and limitations;
- Ensure interoperability along the Corridor, e.g. ETCS equipment also for alternative railway lines;
- Use the existing Rhine-Alpine Corridor Forum as a platform for facilitating mutual information and coordination.
Madame Trautmann, President of the Port of Strasbourg and European Corridor Coordinator for the North Sea – Baltic Sea Corridor welcomed the EGTC to its 6th Assembly Meeting in Strasbourg on 6 November 2017. The dense programme of the day included an overview of projects and initiatives in the Rhine-Alpine Corridor and a fruitful discussion on the position paper of the EGTC to the concequences from the Rastatt Tunnel incident from August 2017.
The EGTC position paper was also consulted with the Advisory Board of the EGTC that gathered later in the afternoon to its 2nd meeting. Besides valuable feedback to the paper, members of the Advisory Board also gave interesting presentations on their Activities. The EGTC members in turn, presented their ongoing projects VitalNodes (Horizon 2020), RAISE-IT (CEF) and ERFLS (CEF).
Another project with involvement of our EGTC has been approved! “VITALNODES – Building a lasting expert network that delivers evidence-based recommendations for Vital Urban Nodes along TEN-T Corridors” submitted under the Horizon 2020 programme under the lead of Rijkswaterstaat (NL) has been chosen for funding and the preparation of the Grant Agreement has started.
VitalNodes will build a lasting European network of key stakeholders based on existing European, national and regional networks. This is done by enriching and applying a proven approach for the optimisation of economic, social and environmental vitality of urban areas from the perspective of multimodal transport infrastructure and spatial development (‘Networking for Urban Vitality’, NUVit). VitalNodes will deliver evidence-based recommendations for more (cost) efficient and sustainable integration of all 88 urban nodes in the TEN-T network corridors, addressing specifically the multi- and intermodal connection between long-distance and last-mile freight logistics. These recommendations will be validated by applying an appraisal tool and involving experts from the growing VitalNodes network.
On 24 April 2015, the “Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine-Corridor EGTC” has been founded in Mannheim with ten founding members as follow-up of the Interreg VB NWE Strategic Initiative CODE24. The main objective of the EGTC is to facilitate and promote the territorial cooperation among its members and to jointly strengthen and coordinate the territorial and integrated development of the multimodal Rhine-Alpine Corridor from the regional and local perspective.
In the meantime, the number of members has grown to 21 and covers 6 countries. The EGTC is already recognized as a respected organisation since the short time of its founding and is also represented in the official EU-Corridor Forum Rhine-Alpine. The EGTC successfully directs funds to corridor related activities and projects like “ERFLS – European Rail Freight Line System” or “RAISE-IT – Rhine-Alpine Integrated and Seamless Travel Chain”. We are glad to present our report that gives an overview of the achievements of the EGTC from its founding in April 2015 till 2016 here.