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Rhine-Alpine Talks

Rhine-Alpine Talks #7: Overcoming Obstacles to Cross-Border Long-Distance Passenger Rail

108 participants from 13 countries joined the 7th Rhine-Alpine Talks titled “Overcoming Obstacles to Cross-Border Long-Distance Passenger Rail in 2021 – Time to Act in the Year of the Rail”.

Luc T’Joen, Senior Administrator at the European Court of Auditors held a keynote on “Seamless Functioning Cross-Border Railway Operations to Connect Cities and Regions: Good for Mobility AND for the Environment?” (download link).

Peter Endemann from the Regionalverband FrankfurtRheinMain presented Guidelines for a Seamless and Integrated Travel Chain along the Rhine-Alpine Corridor (download link), elaborated in a CEF funded project RAISE-IT.

A lively debate with international experts was moderated by Sebastian Belz, General Secretary of the European Platform of Transport Sciences. Prof. Andrea Giuricin (IT), Prof. Laurent Guihéry (FR), Dr. Mark van Hagen (NL), Dr. Marco Kampp (DE) and Maria-Theresia Röhsler (AT) debated on if we need more high-speed rail, less or a mix of high speed and conventional rail? How to accelerate the implementation of an integrated timetable? What other measures can be taken already now to make transport more rail-friendly and more user-friendly?

Rhine-Alpine Talks #6: New EU Funding Programmes

The EGTC Rhine-Alpine held its first 2021 “Rhine-Alpine Talks” on 5 February, with a record one hundred participants. The topic was “New EU Funding Programmes – Opportunities for Corridor Development“.

Paweł Wojciechowski, EU Coordinator for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, spoke on the role and importance of EU funding for corridor development, before the current planning of the funding programmes Horizon Europe, Interreg North-West Europe and CEF Transport were presented to the participants.

Here you can find the presentations for download:

Siegfried Rupprecht (Rupprecht Consult): The Horizon Europe Framework Programme

Mathieu Mori (Interreg North-West Europe): Next Interreg NWE Programme in the making

Daniel von Hugo (Innovation and Networks Executive Agency INEA): Connecting Europe Facility 2021 -2027, Transport

The next Rhine-Alpine Talks will be held on 5 March, dealing with long-distance passenger services along the Rhine-Alpine Corridor.

Rhine-Alpine Talks #5: Smart Logistics

The Rhine-Alpine Talks on 5 December attracted 70 online participants with the topic “Smart Logistics”. It was introduced by Christianne Van der Wal, Chair of the EGTC Rhine-Alpine, and moderated by its Director, Jörg Saalbach. Click at the titles of the presentations for download.

Thorsten Bieker of BASF, Vice President Rail & Site Services, presented the keynote “Smart mobility in freight transport from an Industry perspective”. One of the outstanding projects is an oversize tank container for use between the sites at Antwerp and Ludwigshafen along the Rhine-Alpine corridor. Compared to tank cars, it drastically reduces shunting, resulting in faster service. Compared to conventional containers, it utilizes the train length much better.

Eric Mekenkamp with Marcel Michon of BCI International presented “Smart Logistics Lanes”. Goods are often shipped around the world several times during the production process, so that a special focus should be on resilience. This emphasises the need for synchromodality, to use all options.

Peter Pardoel of Cabooter Group Venlo presented “Smart Logistics Venlo”. Located in the Netherlands, close to the German border, it is not only a logistics hub. It is also a cooperation concept that includes government and research.

Marcel Huschebeck of PTV Group presented “A Synchromodal Corridor Information System for the RALP – The FENIX Project”. He went into the details of information processing in an environment of many partners from different background, with the need for identity management, data exchange, and brokering.

Fernando Liesa, Secretary General of ETP-ALICE, reflected upon handling the complexity of the above topics, also with the background of the physical internet.

Rhine-Alpine Talks #4: Smart Mobility in Passenger Transport

More than 50 viewers debated on “Smart Mobility in Passenger Transport”. Jörg Saalbach, Director of the EGTC, opened the talks. Click below on the titles of the presentations to view or download them.

Vera Tax, MEP, Member of TRAN Committee of the European Parliament, held the keynote “Smart and Sustainable Mobility from a European Perspective.” She named the three focal points, namely new technology, new fuels, and new services. She opted to add cycling and walking, as well as environmental and social sustainability.

Matteo Antoniola, Business Strategy Manager 5T, presented “BIPforMaaS: A public governance model for MaaS in Torino and Piemonte.” He explained the levels of integration (information, booking and payment, services offered, societal goals). He also showed the need of the public sector to take part in the integration, by offering a common framework for the different actors.

Frank Pagel, Project Coordinator at KVV Karlsruhe Transport Authority, explained “regiomove – Connected Mobility Services in a Regional Cooperation Network.” He pointed out that a sustainable mobility service demands connected Mobility from a single source for the whole Region. This needs a regional identity. He therefore assumes that across regions the focus will be more on usability, not on uniformity of the different solutions.

Roxana Heß, INIT – Product Manager MaaS, presented „One-stop-for-the-customer” – Solution for intermodal booking and billing. Working in the same project as Frank Pagel, her contribution shed light on the technical challenges in data sharing and software development. She pointed out that contracts are difficult and mobility platforms are complex. Communication between partners therefore is essential and legal aspects must be considered right from the beginning.

Sebastian Wilske, Deputy Director of the Regional Planning Association Upper Middle Rhine and Thomas Ertel, Communication Manager Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, moderated the debate. A significant question was how to find the optimum size for a smart mobility project, given the overlapping regional catchment areas and political boundaries.

Cristianne Van der Wal, chairperson of the EGTC, presented concluding remarks: There should be less thinking in transport modes, and more thinking in transport chains.

Rhine-Alpine Talks #3: Cross-Border Cooperation on Transport

During the Third Rhine-Alpine Talks, more than 50 viewers debated “Cross-Border Cooperation on Transport”. Click below on the titles of the presentations to view or download them.

Hans-Peter Vetsch, General Secretary of the Gotthard Committee, presented “Cross-border continuation of the Gotthard and Ceneri Basetunnel”. With the opening of the Ceneri base tunnel, the total rail capacity across the Swiss Alps will be 370 freight trains per day. Unfortunately, on the German side, the combined capacity of routes for years to come will remain in the magnitude of 260 trains per day, and the Milan area has bottlenecks, too. Additional capacity is therefore sought on bypass routes.

Pascal Boijmans, European Commission, DG Regional and Urban Policy – Unit D2, reported on “The future of Interreg – Cohesion policy 2021-2027.” The total Interreg budget in the coming period is almost 8 billion Euros, mostly for cross-border cooperation. Opportunities of INTERREG for transport are mainly in removing political and administrative obstacles, improved cross-border regional and local mobility, and financial assistance to tackle technical barriers for improved mobility across borders, such as lacking interoperability or short missing sections of cross-border infrastructure.

Coen Mekers, Province of Gelderland, in his presentation “Focus points of cross-border connections and regions on the Rhine-Alpine corridor” gave a comprehensive overview of the missing links, the quality of the cross-border infrastructure, and the solutions which are achieved along the Rhine-Alpine corridor.

Peter M.J. Pol, Strategic Planner, City of The Hague, and Secretary of the Metrex SURE Eurodelta Network, presented “Eurodelta: A Functional Urban Area (Megaregion) on a Transnational Scale.” He showed an urbanized region of almost 50 million inhabitants, spreading from northern Belgium and southern Netherlands to the Ruhr area in Germany.

Werner Schreiner, Delegate of the Prime-Minister for cross-border Cooperation, State Chancellery of Rhineland – Palatinate, showed the “Flagship Project French – German – Public – Transport.” The international region has managed to established a network of regional cross-border trains.

Martin Guillermo-Ramírez, Secretary General of the Association of European Border Regions, concluded the session with an appeal to national institutions to realize the need for international infrastructure.

Rhine-Alpine Talks #2: Green Corridor

On 11 September, more than 80 participants from along and beyond the Rhine-Alpine Corridor joined online for the second issue of the “Rhine-Alpine Talks”. After a welcome by Paolo Balistreri, EGTC Vice Chair, Floor Vermeulen, Regional Minister of Province Zuid-Holland, gave the introduction “Importance of greening the European Transport Corridors.”

Four speakers presented key projects related to Greening the Rhine-Alpine Corridor. You can view and download the presentations by clicking on the name of the presentation.


Jan Christoph Maass of Duisport presented “RH2INE – Rhine Hydrogen Integration Network of Excellence”. RH2INE is an initiative of the Province of Zuid Holland and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitisation and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia to develop the first European hydrogen corridor that has the right conditions and necessary infrastructure for the use of hydrogen as a propulsion fuel.


Luc van Espen from the Port of Antwerp showed the project “CLINSH – Clean Inland Shipping”, to improve air quality in urban areas by accelerating emission reduction in Inland Waterway Transport. The goal is to demonstrate the environmental impact of emission reduction technologies, alternative fuels and Onshore Power Supply. This includes models of costs and benefits as well as an increase in awareness and support on cleaner inland shipping among ship-owners and policymakers.

Clean Energy Hubs

Theo Heinink, Province of Gelderland, presented “Clean Energy Hubs”. The purpose of the Clean-Energy-Hubs is to achieve a network of sustainable fuels, including biofuels, electricity and green gas, LNG and hydrogen. Currently, the Dutch provinces and the national government participate in this and aim for a network of at least 100 Clean Energy Hubs in the Netherlands in 2025. This can be scaled up to the entire Rhine-Alpine Corridor.

Novara Last Mile Logistics

Massimo Arnese of CROSSTEC S.r.l. Novara presented “Last Mile Logistics and the Interaction of IT Systems with the Infrastructure of the City Center Novara”: Information sharing among delivery services allows for more efficient goods distribution.

Impact of EGTC projects

Finally, Menno Menist, CEO of Dutch consultant Panteia, presented his thoughts about the impact of EGTC and potential synergies with future EU programmes and initiatives.

Rhine-Alpine Talks #1: 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