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Europe needs multimodal freight terminals to build road-rail synergies
Luxembourg | Luxembourg

Europe needs multimodal freight terminals to build road-rail synergies

1 Dec 2022 · Prosperity

During a visit to CFL multimodal in Luxembourg, road and rail representatives focused on Europe’s need for more multimodal freight terminals and how to better foster cooperation between the two modes of transport.

IRU was invited to visit CFL multimodal’s intermodal terminal in Bettembourg-Dudelange, Luxemburg. The state-of-the-art terminal, which has a total annual capacity of 600,000 units, is ideally located as an international hub at the crossroads of multimodal transport flows coming from Europe and beyond.

CFL accommodates both containers and semitrailers, although the latter is more prominent. The company has a secure parking area dedicated to truck customers arriving at the Eurohub South logistics hub. It offers secure parking spaces to trucks with semitrailers and direct access from the intermodal terminal.

visit to CFL multimodal in Luxembourg

IRU Director of EU Advocacy Raluca Marian said, “Seeing a state-of-the-art terminal with a clear objective to best serve its customers, which are road transport operators, in action is an eye-opening experience.

“In real life, it’s all about efficient transport, cooperation and complementarity between modes. This is what politicians should keep in mind when making policies, instead of placing different modes in opposition and setting artificial hierarchies disconnected from the day-to-day reality.”

During the visit, IRU, the International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR) and CFL leaders explored avenues to improve cooperation between road and rail transport operations.

It was agreed that the ongoing revision of the Trans-European Transport (TEN-T) has the potential to boost road-rail complementarity by stimulating investments in multimodal freight terminals across the EU.

Disappointingly though, in the Council discussions, EU Member States have been reluctant to commit to developing multimodal freight terminals and have removed binding deadlines for building terminals linked to urban nodes. IRU and the European Transport Workers' Federation highlighted the importance of having multimodal freight terminals in a joint letter in November.

Along the TEN-T revision, the revision of the Combined Transport Directive and the Weights and Dimensions rules – expected in the second quarter of 2023, as part of the Greening Freight Package – could provide additional opportunities to enhance road-rail synergies.