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“The time is now,” Pauwels told delegates at the 13th annual European Railway Award in Brussels on February 18, where he was presented with the 2020 European Railway Award. “We have 10 years to drastically shift to sustainable transport and keep our climate targets achievable. Let’s seize the opportunity with the Green Deal to create the right context for modal shift. Let’s reinvent rail and again challenge the status quo of how we do transport.
“We need everyone present here to unite behind this single purpose of modal shift: rail companies, infrastructure managers, policymakers, everyone. By 2030, I hope to see that rail has become the backbone of the European transport system.”
This is the first time that a CEO of a rail freight company has received the award. The jury lauded Pauwels for the successful transformation of a loss-making division of Belgian National Railways (SNCB) into the largest private rail freight company in Europe, and for the launch of the Green Xpress Network.
“The successful privatisation of Lineas, its innovative rail offering, and the clear vision for modal shift are a true inspiration,” said Mr Libor Lochman, executive director of the Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Managers (CER). “Geert Pauwels has led the way in showing the positive impact of rail, not only as a transport solution, but also as the answer to societal issues such as climate change and road congestion.”
Pauwels was appointed CEO of Lineas in 2009 and led the company out of near bankruptcy. In 2015, Lineas was privatised with the entry of private equity group Argos Wityu and the company embarked on European expansion with the launch of the Green Xpress Network.
“This is recognition for the hard work of all our colleagues, for the trust of our shareholder, and for the belief of our customers in what we do,” Pauwels said. “We will continue to pursue modal shift in Europe, expand our Green Xpress Network, and help our customers optimise their supply chain with positive impact on climate and mobility.
The post Lineas CEO calls for urgent shift of freight to rail appeared first on International Railway Journal.
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