Combined transport refers to the carriage of goods from one place to another using different means of transport: road for the first and last leg of the journey and rail or water for the rest.
Mobility Package 2 includes a proposal to revise the European Commission’s Combined Transport Directive of 1992. The European Parliament made further improvements to the Commission’s report.
IRU welcomes the European Parliament’s efforts in updating the current legislation in the interest of all transport modes but more progress can be made. The Directive should focus on fostering cooperation between various modes of transport rather than forcing freight off the road. Road freight transport contributes to the efficiency of Europe’s multimodal freight and logistics network, and its key role in combined transport should be recognised.
Requiring Member States to grant more incentives to road freight operators active in combined transport is a welcome step proposed by the European Parliament.
The suggestion of using revenues from external costs in order to subsidise combined transport operations, however, is worrying given that these charges are only paid by the road freight transport sector. Such revenues should instead be invested in facilitating inclusion of road freight in combined transport networks.
The use of high-capacity transport vehicles, or European Modular Systems (EMS), should be incentivised. Using EMS increases efficiency while requiring fewer resources and minimising environmental impact. For nearly a decade, IRU has called for national and cross-border EMS trials with the aim of establishing which vehicle combinations work best.
Maximum truckload weight
IRU welcomes the European Parliament’s proposal to allow a maximum weight of 44 tonnes for cranable semi-trailers used in the framework of a combined transport operation.
However, this maximum weight should apply to the entire vehicle combination. Fewer vehicles would thus be required to carry the same load, leading to a reduction in carbon emissions.
The European Parliament supports the use of electronic documents and calls for one single control document for combined transport.
However, the European Commission and the Parliament should explicitly require the use of a consignment note (CMR or digital CMR) and should specify exactly what kind of information to include.