Our answer to the Revision of the Combined Transport Directive – Inception Impact Assessment

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Combined Transport Directive

Our answer to the consultation

Directive 92/106/EEC is the only EU legal instrument directly targeting combined transport (CT), incentivising a more sustainable operational model for freight transport. Nearly thirty years later, the effectiveness of the Directive needs to be improved as the freight market and transport have gone through considerable changes. Furthermore, the political context has shifted as well, with an increased ambition on emissions-reduction objectives deriving from the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.

The Platform for Electromobility agrees with the European Commission that, without an intervention to promote the use of multimodal transport, the uptake of more sustainable transport options will not take place to the desired degree and in the desired time-frame to reach 2030 and 2050 EU objectives.

Strengthening combined transport fits perfectly into the vision of an integrated and sustainable comprehensive mobility system. The role of intermodal terminals, in this context, stands out through the optimisation of the connectivity of the different modes, and incorporating rail, roads and waterway systems into the freight logistics chain.

Among the options envisaged by the Inception Impact Assessment, Option 3 appears as setting the most effective way to crucially improve the framework for combined transport in Europe. The extension of the support from today’s narrowly defined combined transport operations to all intermodal or multimodal operations, and the categorisation of terminals based on infrastructure and operational efficiency – both proposed also under Option 2 – would broaden the Directive’s scope and streamline investments for combined transport’s infrastructures.

Moreover, Option 3 foresees an assessment of the efficiency of the measures to support the attainment of the objectives of the revised Combined Transport Directive. This measure would  improve the reporting and monitoring conditions of the Directive.

Following this further, the Platform remains cautious about the viability of Option 4, which envisages mandatory harmonised support measures – such as a support to transhipment costs. Such proposal may open the door to state aid-related questions and be challenged across Member States.

The Platform for Electromobility looks forward to work with the European Commission to ensure that freight transport do not miss the decarbonization revolution and contributes efficiently to a sustainable, integrated and multimodal mobility system for Europe and set best practices for the world.


Our vision on the future of Eurovignette

  1. General Comments

Establishing a level playing field between all modes of land transport requires an ambitious revision of the Eurovignette directive. A level playing field across single market will then allow the development of a clean transportation system in Europe. Both rail and Zero Emission heavy duty vehicles ZE HDVs) will benefit from it, therefore reducing the impact of land transport on the environment. Revising the Eurovignette directive is therefore a necessary step towards 2050 climate objectives.

Two aspects of the new Eurovignette directive can have a true and significant impact on the deployment of ZE HDVs: external cost charges for air and noise pollution on the one hand, and improving the CO2-based tolling system on the other. Internalization of cost and an improved tolling system will significantly reduce CO2 emissions. The distance-based infrastructure charging coupled with CO2 differentiation is the ideal for incentivizing cleaner vehicles. Here external cost charging is crucial as well as the application of the “polluter pays” principle.

This reaction paper presents the Platform for electromobility’s point of view vis-à-vis the positions adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. Although ideally the “polluter pays” principle will be applied in all modes, the paper provides the realistic expectations of the electromobility sector to actors in the trialogue negotiations. This paper complements a precedent paper issued after the Commission’s proposal in 2017.