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Rastatt Rail Tunnel Report Highlights Intermodal Freight Losses and Calls for Change

Damage to Trade from Tunnel Collapse Estimated at Two Billion Euros Shipping News Feature GERMANY EUROPE The damage to a mere 150 metres of rail track in the Rastatt Tunnel last August1 led to unprecedented delays and confusion for freight transport spanning several countries and revealing the weaknesses of a track borne cargo transport system in which railway companies working in a supposedly unified market, were actually operating in different languages precluding the use of drivers internationally, with no suitable diversionary routes and lacking any sort of acceptable crisis management system . Changes were immediately called for2.

Now the chief critics of the disaster and its aftermath have released a commissioned report which evaluates the economic damage incurred by determining the value-added losses for the manufacturing and service sectors and concluding these amount to over ‘ 2 billion . The European Rail Freight Association (ERFA3), Netzwerk Europ ischer Eisenbahnen (NEE4) and the International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR5) have jointly published a study undertaken by the Hanseatic Transport Consultancy (HTC6) .

This shows only 33% of the scheduled freight traffic was able to operate on a line which could have hosted 8,262 trains under normal conditions during the same period. Beyond the economic losses caused to rail freight stakeholders and their customers the complainants state that considerable damages were also incurred in terms of modal shift, loss in traffic and confidence in the reliability of the entire rail freight sector . Ralf-Charley Schultze, President of UIRR, highlighted that the confidence of the market players in rail freight and Combined Transport can only be restored by adopting adequate European-level contingency management procedures, which must include a financial instrument to immediately assist stakeholders with the extra costs of impact-mitigation measures.

Schultze asserted that the operators of rail freight transport chains are not capitalised to underwrite these kinds of expenses over a prolonged period . This was backed up by Carole Coune, Acting Secretary General of ERFA who pointed out that European freight railway undertakings were operationally and financially heavily harmed and are not able to bear these types of losses . The ERFA is urging that compensation claims are resolved and paid quickly.

This being done Ms Coune said the focus can then be on ensuring that any future incidents do not have the same consequences or impact on competitiveness when set against road haulage . The development of contingency plans and improved performance by rail Infrastructure Managers, with a focus on cross-border movements must be the positive outcome which arises from this hugely disruptive incident and she confirmed this is a top priority for the ERFA. The study quantifies that two billion euros thus: ‘ 969 million losses by rail logistics companies such as intermodal operators, local strategic partnerships and railway undertakings; ‘ 771 million by manufacturing industries and ‘ 308 million by related entities such as infrastructure managers and terminal operators.

Peter Westenberger, Managing Director of NEE says his concern is that the whole incident will be quickly forgotten and warned against dismissing it too hastily saying the handbook drafts a list of correct, but incomplete proposals . He says it is for national infrastructure managers to put things into practice . He is concerned that important demands from the rail logistics sector have not been included or implemented, particularly the cross-border coordination of construction work in the networks, compensation costs in case of diversions, and the development and extension of parallel routes so that rail traffic can continue to run in the event of an accident or construction works.

Westenberger points out that every single day of standstill during the Rastatt incident caused damages of around 40 million euros throughout Europe .

Therefore, it must be the priority that an incident comparable to Rastatt will never happen again.

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  1. ^ Rastatt Tunnel last August (www.handyshippingguide.com)
  2. ^ immediately called for (www.handyshippingguide.com)
  3. ^ ERFA (www.erfarail.eu)
  4. ^ NEE (www.netzwerk-bahnen.de)
  5. ^ UIRR (www.uirr.com)
  6. ^ HTC (www.htc-consultancy.de)

Road Safety Conference to Look At Electric Trucks and Road Haulage ‘Last Mile’ Freight Deliveries

Birmingham Event is About Transport Fleets Facing the Future Shipping News Feature UK Brake1, the national road safety charity dedicated to stopping carnage on the roads and care for families which have relatives bereaved and injured in road crashes, necessarily paints with a broad brush . Cars are obviously a principal target but at this year’s Fleet Safety Conference 2the organisation is giving over a large part of the discussions to road haulage services, with representative speakers from the freight transport industry . Electric vehicles, trucks and ‘last mile’ deliveries by vans are all up for discussion.

Brake s Fleet Safety Conference 2018, is this year based around the theme of Facing the future – are you ready ?

and will see experts from the world of fleet transport share best practice in managing road risk at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre on Friday 25 May 2018 . This year s conference will include breakout sessions giving delegates the opportunity to shape the conference around their own agenda and professional needs . These breakout sessions will cover topical issues including routing and journey planning, electric vehicles, managing young drivers, trucks, new vehicle standards, vans, the future of delivery and recruitment and driver training.

The event will feature presentations from both public and private sector operators, representing car, van, truck, and mixed vehicle fleets, and the full agenda can be viewed here3 . Of particular interest to our regular readers will be a discussion about how effective route and journey planning can enable fleet managers to maximise efficiency, minimise emissions, reduce collisions and make other overall improvements in road safety terms. Additionally Royal Mail has recently introduced a number of fully electric vans into its fleet and group road safety manager Mark Bromhall will outline the successes and the pitfalls to inform fleet managers who might be looking to implement similar measures .

Natalie Chapman, the Freight Transport Association s (FTA4) Head of Policy for London and the South East, will be leading the discussion on the controversy surrounding the Direct Vision Standard and asking whether it will deliver the safety improvements that the city hopes for. These talks will precede a look at new vehicle technology, such as the low or zero carbon vans and small urban vehicles which are revolutionising last-mile delivery services, and asking How can we harness this technology to improve road safety, reduce collisions and address issues such as noise pollution ? Ross Moorlock, business development director, at Brake says:

We are delighted to announce such a strong line-up of speakers for this year s conference .

Every year, we bring together leading fleet professionals who are pioneering safety measures in the industry, and I d urge anyone responsible for managing at-work drivers to take advantage of this excellent networking opportunity.

Photo: The eStar from Navistar5.

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  1. ^ Brake (brakepro.org)
  2. ^ Fleet Safety Conference (brakepro.org)
  3. ^ viewed here (brakepro.org)
  4. ^ FTA (www.fta.co.uk)
  5. ^ Navistar (www.navistar.com)

UK Government Aims to Upscale Biofuel Use in Road Haulage and Air Freight and Passenger Movements

New Targets Come Into Force This Week Shipping News Feature UK New biofuel targets coming into force on April 15 aims to see the use of renewable fuels in the UK’s transport industry double within 15 years, cutting the sector’s reliance on imported diesel . The Government is set to introduce changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO1) which it hopes will compel owners of transport fuel, mainly to road haulage operators and air freight and passenger carriers, who supply at least 450,000 litres a year or more, to make sure the mix is at least 12.4% biofuel by 2032.

Currently the industry, which supplies fuel to a range of transport companies, is only expected to meet a target of 4.75% biofuel . The key changes to the scheme are:

  • increasing the biofuels volume target from the current 4.75% to 9.75% in 2020, and 12.4% in 2032
  • setting an additional target for advanced waste-based renewable fuels, starting at 0.1% in 2019 and rising to 2.8% in 2032
  • setting a sustainable level for crop biofuels, an initial maximum cap of 4% of fuel in 2018, reducing annually from 2021 to reach 3% in 2026 and 2% in 2032
  • bringing renewable aviation fuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin into the scheme.

Commenting on the changes, Transport Minister Jesse Norman said:

We are committed to reducing carbon emissions from transport to tackle climate change, and to making the sector as sustainable as possible .

Increasing our use of renewable fuels is a key part of this . The changes we are introducing will double our carbon emissions savings from the RTFO scheme by doubling the use of renewable fuels and reducing reliance on imported fossil diesel . This will deliver emissions savings equal to taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road.

The changes to the RTFO scheme will also reward and support the production of sustainable renewable aviation fuels in the UK . The government says that it is also challenging the sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% by 2020, which coupled with the RTFO changes should support the UK s low carbon fuel industry while helping make sure the UK transport sector is one of the most sustainable in the world . Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of the International Airline Group (IAG2), said:

Providing sustainable fuel production for aircraft with the same economic incentives given to road vehicles is long overdue . This is a major step forward to help the UK aviation industry meet its carbon reduction targets . These incentives have enabled alternative fuel sources to be developed for cars and lorries, while aviation has traditionally been heavily dependent on fossil fuels .

This government initiative will support our plans to build Europe s first waste to jet biofuel plant in Britain, creating UK jobs and growth. The majority of the biofuel used in the UK comes from waste . By introducing new targets, the RTFO promotes the development of cutting edge technologies to turn waste into valuable low carbon fuels .

Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association3, commented: We welcome the increased targets for renewable transport fuels and are excited by the new regulations which will encourage the production of novel fuels for hard-to-decarbonise sectors . The UK s renewable fuels have excellent environmental credentials and their manufacture supports almost 1,000 direct jobs, many of which are in the north-east .

As transport is now the UK s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and air quality concerns are growing, this makes the transition to a cleaner system an imperative. The changes are in addition to the 22 million of government funding available to industry to develop waste-based advanced low carbon fuels in the UK for aviation and freight . The new RTFO will contribute a third of the total savings from transport for the UK s carbon budget.

Historically the supply of biofuels has been shrouded in controversy with accusations of crops grown purely for fuel being a wasteful alternative to edible alternatives . Even producing energy from waste has been under scrutiny so it will be interesting to see how things develop . Whilst road haulage has its eye fairly firmly on electricity as a source of motive power the torque supplied by a traditional compression or internal combustion engine is hard to replicate.

As a contrary argument biofuels are also bound to produce variable emissions, again a subject which is emotive and currently witnessing sectors of the industry having limits imposed upon it in the form of international agreements and urban taxes.

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  1. ^ RTFO (www.gov.uk)
  2. ^ IAG (www.iairgroup.com)
  3. ^ Renewable Energy Association (www.r-e-a.net)
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