The CEO Task Force was set up three years ago by Freight CEOs with a view to providing high-level support to issues of key importance to the competitiveness of rail freight. These issues were clustered into four categories: Interoperability, Corridors, Rail Operation and Innovation.
On 9 and 10 July 2018, at the invitation of Juergen Maier, BLS Cargo, representatives from Astoc, BLS, DB Cargo, Lineas, Mercitalia, RCG, SBB Cargo, SNCF, VDV, CER and UIC met in Uetliberg in order to review progress of the topics championed by the task force and agree on the next concrete steps for each.
The review was structured around thematical workshops each moderated by a Sherpa.
Sandra Géhénot, UIC, moderated the first workshop which focused on Clusters Interoperability, Corridors and Rail Operation. Bertrand Minary, SNCF, moderated the workshop on Innovation and Alfred Pitnik, RCG, moderated a discussion on the next strategic steps.
Whilst the need to continue to follow all issues was stressed, the following priorities for the period ahead were earmarked:
- ETCS, ERTMS
- Cross border interoperability and more specifically the following concreted topics currently driven by the UIC projects and providing technical input to a range of sector initiatives such as the Issue log and Sector Statement:
- The driver language issue
- Train composition
- Timetabling with a special focus on the TTR pilots
- Digitalisation with two specific streams:
- Data exchange and ETA for which the UIC Raildata group already provides technical support
This exercise was also targeted at better supporting the Sector Strategy “30 by 2030 – Rail Freight Strategy to boost modal shift” which is organised around the following four workstreams:
- Railway operators should offer rail products of the highest quality/value for money
- Infrastructure managers and regulators should make sure that running a train through Europe is as ‘easy’ as running a truck.
- Policy-makers should push customers towards rail, taking into account external costs of rail and truck.
- The rail sector should reinvent itself at the same pace as the truck sector
The Sector Strategy was presented last May by Clemens Först, Chair of the Freight CEOs High-Level Freight Meeting, to representatives of the European Shippers Council and to Elisabeth Werner, Director, Land Transport, DG Move. On that occasion, it was again emphasised that the Freight CEO TF is open to all rail freight stakeholders. It is a key tool to draw the attention of the sector at large, to what is at stake for rail freight in Europe and to what is needed to ensure it becomes the backbone of mobility for a sustainable society.