On 13 October the second Freight Forum meeting in 2011 was held at UIC under the chairmanship of Mr Ferdinand Schmidt, CEO of ÖBB Produktion. For the first time delegates from RZD (Russia) and IR (India) took part.
Further to the previous Freight Forum meeting in May 2011, four projects were proposed to be submitted via the UIC opt-in process for 2012. The content of these four projects was outlined to the participants of the Forum:
LOCA (Location and categories of line)
The previous LODICA proposal has been modified, taking into account some of the members’ suggestions. This project is now focusing on the implementation of a reiteration of line categories used by freight operators together with the admissible limit for axle load values. It can be executed fairly rapidly within UIC in order to address a wagon operation problem which has occurred repeatedly since 2006.
EUR Pallets (Future Project Plan for the EUR Pallet)
This aims to review pallet standards and categories as described in UIC leaflet 435 in order to raise revenues generated by user licences.
Rail Freight Vision 2030
A project geared to take stock of the needs and conditions produced by constraints and opportunities, in order to grasp the current market environment. The purpose is to provide a macroeconomic outlook until 2025-2030 in an uncertain and constantly changing context.
New Mac (New Market Segments for Combined Transport)
As part of the sequel to the IMPORT project of 2010 and 2011, this project aims to identify combined transport market segments which can improve its profitability. It will concentrate on data analysis, modal competition and production related needs.
Concerning the ongoing projects Mr Hilker from DB Systemtechnik delivered a status report on the “Europe Train” project. He provided an update on developments concerning the first set of tests on mountainous terrain and gave interim progress reports on winter tests as well as static and dynamic tests. The results presented showed that it was reasonable for the project to continue as planned. The next edition of the intermediate report is planned for the beginning of 2012. Results from the Europe Train project are still crucial, since they shall form the ground work for the homologation of LL blocks towards the end of 2012. The Commission’s variable access charges to railway infrastructure depending on noise (NDTAC) will not in principle exist until LL brake blocks are available.
After listening to the status reports of the different study groups a project that aims to bring together air-freight forwarders, infrastructure managers, service integrators (express parcel services) and carriers was presented to the participants of the Forum. Mr. Garnier, a representative of CAREX, a not-for profit organisation set up in 2008, presented the main results of a feasibility study encompassing rolling stock, loading platforms, terminals and the demands in security. He explained how RUs (those who are not yet partners) could participate in cooperation. He underlined the importance of the potential to be found in cooperating with other European airports, such as Liege, Amsterdam, Cologne and London as well as the support provided by DG MOVE in the context of the EUROCAREX consortium. Freight Forum members were called upon to discuss the potential and risks to be found in a new form of rail-air freight intermodality.
Reports on the three European projects MARATHON, SPECTRUM and SUSTRAIL were presented. The approach and their objectives were recalled by the project team members, and the timescale and the work packages detailed.