The EC's 2011 White Paper on Transport noted that the quality, accessibility and reliability of transport services will gain increasing importance in the coming years. Attractive frequencies, comfort, easy access, reliability of services, and intermodal integration (ie combining the various modes of transport together to best effect) are the main characteristics of service quality.
This public consultation by the European Commission (EC) relates to Combined Transport, a form of goods haulage which involves a combination of road transport with alternative rail and/or water-based transport, using these alternative modes for the majority of the journey, with use of road haulage limited as far as possible to a relatively short distance at the start and/or end of the journey. The goods are carried in a load unit, with the entire load unit then transferred between transport modes at interchanges as required during the journey. Using the various modes of transport in this combination can help reduce the overall environmental impact of freight transport compared to road haulage alone, improving the environmental performance of freight transport, as well as reducing road congestion.
Combined Transport is promoted within the European Union (EU) through the Combined Transport Directive (Council Directive 92/106/EEC , hereafter referred to as "the CT Directive"). The CT Directive seeks to promote Combined Transport operations through liberalisation of road cabotage, the elimination of authorisation procedures for Combined Transport operations, as well as financial support through fiscal incentives for certain Combined Transport operations. In order to be eligible for the provisions within the CT Directive, the movement of goods must meet a number of criteria, including:
- Goods must be moved in a load unit which is more than 20’ (6m) long; and
- Goods must be moved by rail or inland waterway or maritime transport - where this section exceeds 100km as the crow flies; and
- Goods must be moved by road transport on the initial and/or final leg of the journey – either:
- between the point where the goods are loaded and/or unloaded and the nearest suitable rail loading station; or
- within a radius of 150 km as the crow flies, from the inland waterway port or seaport of loading or unloading.
The CT Directive is supported by other EU policies, such as the Weights and Dimensions Directive (Council Directive 96/53/EC ) which currently provides for Member States to permit movement of heavier intermodal load units by road when used in Combined Transport operations.
Objective of the consultation
The EC is undertaking this public consultation to gather information about the implementation of the CT Directive, as well as to assess whether a revision of the CT Directive would be desirable and, if so, what possible enhancements could be made in future revisions of Combined Transport policy.
The European Commission would particularly welcome contributions from stakeholders with an interest in improving the efficiency and sustainability of freight transport services in the EU. These might include: commercial undertakings which use or operate freight transport services, public authorities, academia, trade associations, and other interest groups.
Please note that this document has been drafted for information and consultation purposes only. It has not been adopted or in any way approved by the European Commission and should not be regarded as representing the views of the Commission. It does not prejudge, or constitute the announcement of any position on the part of the Commission on the issues covered. The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.