The conference entitled ‘La liaison ferroviaire Paris – Barcelone’ (Paris-Barcelona Rail Link) was held at the UIC Headquarters on 28 February 2019, hosted by FERRMED (European not-for-profit association, established in 2004 in Brussels) and ENERGIE TGV.
The conference was opened by Vincent Vu, UIC Director of Institutional Relations, who spoke about the cooperation agreement signed by FERRMED and UIC and highlighted the importance of this partnership that will contribute to creating a sustainable transport system.
The close ties between FERRMED and UIC seek to bring together available expertise to support the preparation, publication and circulation of UIC’s International Railway Solutions, that have contributed to the development of modern logistics chains built using all modes of transport.
Freight corridors are following in the footsteps of high-speed passenger line development, by connecting major European economic hubs, such as Paris and Barcelona, via Lyon, Perpignan and Montpellier. Vincent Vu also underscored the key issues surrounding traffic in passenger rail and the SDGs, in contrast to aviation which was running at full capacity and had some of the busiest timetables.
Among those who attended the conference were: FERRMED President, Joan Amorós, Energie TGV President Claude Auger, Jean-Luc Gibelin, Vice-President of the Occitan Region, José Javier Izquierdo, Secretary General of Infrastructure and Transport for the Spanish Ministry for Development, André Vercin, Regional Councillor for Innovation in transport for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region of France, Isidre Gavin Secretary General of Mobility and Infrastructure for the Generalitat of Catalonia.
According to Joan Amorós, “The problems we face include the difficulty freight trains have in crossing large urban areas, the lack of suitable connections between terminals, ports and airports, and existing and potential bottlenecks. Finding a solution to these issues would have a huge socioeconomic impact. It could bring the cost of transport down by more than 25%, and prevent 2 million tonnes of GHG emissions by 2025.”
Amoros declared, “FERRMED and Energie TGV are calling on the French and Spanish governments to take immediate and medium term action to realise the environmental goals set out in the Commission’s ‘White Paper’, and to avoid saturating inland transport networks: both road and rail.”