The European Commission has published a proposed regulation to improve the efficiency and sustainability of freight transport. Actions outlined in the proposal aim to contribute to the target of reducing transport emissions by 90% by 2050, as set out in the European Green Deal. The main objectives are to develop a framework that:
- improves rail infrastructure management
- incentivises low-emission HDV adoption
- offers clear information on the environmental impact of freight transport
Rail is already an environmentally friendly mode of transport. The proposal aims to address the unmet demands of the sector including the need for stable timetables and early booking of tickets for passenger services, and flexible train runs adapted to just-in-time supply chains for freight shippers. Freight, in contrast to the rail sector, is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions from transport. The proposal outlines incentives for decarbonisation including a revision of the weight restrictions for zero-emission vehicles, allowing this vehicle type additional weight and therefore, encouraging the uptake of cleaner vehicles in the industry. The Commission also provides clarity on the use of cross-border traffic, aiming to simplify the process and, where possible, allow the same amount of cargo to be transported in fewer trips.
The proposal is due to be considered by the European Parliament and the Council in the ordinary legislative procedure.