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The rail and road sectors of Belgium are jointly launching a concrete proposal to stimulate a shift to rail. They argue for a compensation for companies that shift their cargo from road to rail, a move that is currently too expensive.
This is the core message of the Belgian Rail Freight Forum and Febetra, which represent the two sectors in the country. The measure could help carriers to get 750,000 truck journeys off the road every year. The combination of road and rail transport is, according to the organisations, necessary to guarantee the mobility and logistical pioneering role of Belgium.
In order to encourage more road hauliers to develop multimodal services on both short and long-haul routes support measures are needed, they continue. The groups propose a forty Euro check for each unit shifted to rail or another sustainable mode. In addition, investments should be supported in adapted infrastructure or equipment, such as reach stackers, containers, multimodal trailers, etc.
Road hauliers do want to transfer part of their traffic to the railways or inland waterways, but they have to put those plans away because of the costs, the groups argue. “After all, transferring goods to the railways requires an extra operation and therefore an additional operational cost of 40 euros (per unit) on average. In addition, investments in specific infrastructure and equipment are essential.”
Like many EU countries, Belgium is suffering from congested roads due to swelling volumes of traffic. On average, a driver is stuck in traffic around 44 hours per year. With the 27 per cent increase in freight transport by 2040, this problem will only increase, the interest groups pointed out.
Paul Hegge, representative of the Belgian Rail Freight Forum: “Through a transfer check, the government can compensate road hauliers for transferring to and from the most efficient transport mode. In this way we can remove 750,000 truck journeys from traffic in Belgium every year and avoid 1,000 lost hours in traffic every day. “
This article first appeared on www.railfreight.com
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