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14 January 2021
The Sustainable Transport Forum (STF), a formal expert group advising the European Commission on the implementation of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, has unanimously adopted a Report entitled:
The STF detailed recommendations report aims to provide practical guidelines for public authorities intending to procure recharging infrastructure, or to award concessions for their roll-out and/or operation, possibly linked to the granting of government support. By providing an overview of innovative best practice by frontrunners, the STF aims to develop a set of minimum recommendations for public authorities seeking to support the deployment of recharging infrastructure.
The Recommendations analyse the three main steps for public authorities to consider when planning the deployment of recharging infrastructure:
defining the deployment approach;
organising the tender procedure;
developing specific tender requirements.
A summary handbook outlining the main findings, recommendations and examples included in the detailed STF report will be published on the dedicated MOVE webpage.
31 December 2020
Friday, 1 January 2021, marks the beginning of the European Year of Rail. The European Commission initiative will highlight the benefits of rail as a sustainable, smart and safe means of transport. A variety of activities will put rail in the spotlight throughout 2021 across the continent, to encourage the use of rail by both citizens and businesses and to contribute to the EU Green Deal goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050.
Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport, said: "Our future mobility needs to be sustainable, safe, comfortable and affordable. Rail offers all of that and much more! The European Year of Rail gives us the opportunity to re-discover this mode of transport. Through a variety of actions, we will use this occasion to help rail realise its full potential. I invite all of you to be part of the European Year of Rail."
The future is rail
In the EU, rail is responsible for less than 0.5% of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions. This makes it one of the most sustainable forms of passenger and freight transport. Among other benefits, rail is also exceptionally safe and it connects people and businesses across the EU via the Trans-European Transport network (TEN-T).
Despite these advantages, only about 7% of passengers and 11% of goods travel by rail. The European Year of Rail will create momentum to help increase rail’s share of passenger and freight transport. This will cut the greenhouse gas emissions and pollution coming from EU transport significantly, making a huge contribution to the EU’s efforts under the European Green Deal.
As the first year of full implementation for the 4th railway package, 2021 will also represent an important leap towards the Single European Railway Area: a more efficient European rail network with seamless mobility across borders.
All eyes on rail in 2021
On 1 January, the European Commission will launch a website providing further information on the initiative, as well as an overview of planned activities. Various events, projects and activities across the EU will highlight the many dimensions of rail – from Europe’s world-leading, innovative rail industry, to rail’s role in European culture and heritage, its importance for connecting regions, people and businesses, its part in sustainable tourism, as well as its involvement in the EU’s relations with neighbouring countries, for example.
The Commission’s legislative agenda will also reflect the European Year of Rail, with proposals on a new rail industrial partnership, better links for rail with other modes of transport, and making freight transport more sustainable overall, as outlined in the Commission’s recently adopted Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.
The initiative, proposed by the European Commission in March and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in December 2020, is part of the EU’s efforts under the European Green Deal, the EU’s plan to make its economy sustainable by achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
One of the key elements of the plan is to roll out cleaner and healthier means of transport, as the transport sector is currently responsible for about 25% of the Union’s greenhouse gas emissions. The European Green Deal seeks a 90% reduction in transport emissions by 2050.
In order to meet this goal and to ensure that transport continues to play its part during the transition towards a clean, digital and innovative EU economy, the Commission adopted its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy in December 2020. It outlines the path towards more sustainable, smart and resilient mobility, and includes milestones, such as doubling rail freight and tripling high-speed rail activity by 2050. The Commission will present an action plan to boost passenger rail transport next year, and the strategy foresees measures to improve capacity and to simplify ticketing across different transport modes to further increase the attractiveness of rail.
For more information:
17 December 2020
Last week, the European Commission (EC) presented its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, accompanied by an Action Plan of 82 initiatives, meant to lay the foundation for the green and digital transformation of the EU transport.
According to the document, all transport modes need to become more sustainable by making green alternatives widely accessible. The result, already outlined in the European Green Deal (EGD), should be a 90% cut in emissions for the transport sector by 2050.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the EGD, said, “To reach our climate targets, emissions from the transport sector must get on a clear downward trend. Today's strategy will shift the way people and goods move across Europe and make it easy to combine different modes of transport in a single journey. We've set ambitious targets for the entire transport system to ensure a sustainable, smart, and resilient return from the COVID-19 crisis.”
What does it mean for ports and the BSR?
According to the strategy, ports are key for EU’s international connectivity, for the European economy, and for their respective regions. In their transition to zero-emission nodes, the best practices followed by the most sustainable ports should become the new normal. Inland and sea ports have a great potential to become new clean energy hubs for integrated electricity systems, hydrogen and other low-carbon fuels, as well as testbeds for waste reuse and the circular economy.
With numerous Baltic ports already leading the charge in setting ambitious emission goals for themselves, this presents a great opportunity to underscore the Baltic Sea region’s (BSR) positioning as the role model for green ports and maritime transport and share their long-established best practices with others.
Within the plan, the EC pledges to propose measures to make ports clean, by incentivizing the deployment of renewable and low-carbon fuels and feeding stationed vessels with renewable power instead of fossil energy, optimization of port calls and through a wider use of smart traffic management. The BSR has a longstanding tradition in being the frontrunner when it comes to solutions related to all these fields, with numerous ports already offering LNG bunkering and shore-power access, as well as sea traffic management initiatives.
The document recognizes the success of already established Emission Control Areas (ECAs), of which there are a number in the BSR. Next region to be covered is the Mediterranean Sea, with plans to start similar work in the Black Sea. This presents yet another opportunity for the BSR to share its know-how and experience with such projects, as there are many challenges to be overcome, both from the side of ports and vessel operators.
As the EGD calls for a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road to shift to rail and inland waterways, the plan notes short-sea shipping (SSS) as another viable way to contribute to the greening of freight transport in Europe. Transport by inland waterways and SSS is set to increase by 25% by 2030 and 50% by 2050. This can be coupled with the promise to support the development of zero-emission vessels powered by alternative fuels such as hydrogen or electricity, which can be a feasible option for SSS.
Bogdan Oldakowski, Secretary General, BPO, offered the following comment, “The recently presented Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy sets very ambitious goals for whole transport sector in the EU. There are certain efforts requested from the port industry in order to reach EU’s planned climate neutrality by 2050. Baltic ports will proceed to contribute to these goals by continuing their work to deploy new fuel infrastructure for ships. Moreover, they will apply digitalization and new technologies to increase efficiency in energy use and in port services and operations. These actions will lead to the reduction of CO2 emissions and reaching the set climate neutrality goals.”
The document can be downloaded directly from EC’s website under the following link.
10 December 2020
The Scandria Aliiance Working Group on Multimodality & Digitalisation organized a webinar on the potentials of Automation in Maritime and Inland Waterway transport on 2nd December 2020.
Presenters from the Port of Helsingborg, the Port of Venice, Berlin Westhafen and Kongsberg Maritime gave an overview of the state of the art on automation in waterbound transport.
The Joint Spatial Planning Department introduced listeners to the Scandria®Alliance and the Scandinavian Adriatic Corridor.
The 74 attendees representing regions from the entire Scandria®Corridor, from Norway to Italy, were briefed by the Port of Venice on a new planning software, which allows for a more efficient planning of railbound transport in ports. The Port of Helsinborg gave an insight into their strategy on automation, digitalization and electrification until 2035, with the goal to not only find more environmental-friendly solutions but also increase the ports handling capacity. Kongsberg Maritime gave an overview over the current attempts to develop autonomous ships within the H2020 project Autoship but also on other projects, such as the Yara Birkeland and the ASKO Sea Drones. BEHALA, as the operator of the Berlin Westhafen port, presented their A-Swarm project, aiming at developing autonomous vessel-units, that operate independently or in formation as one unit.
A few days after the 2nd International Ship Autonomy and Sustainability Summit, held by the European Commission, the webinar clearly showed that there is a lot of activities related to autonomous shipping in the Scandria®Corridor regions. The presenters clearly stated, that in this early phase of development, it is essential to collaborate to share knowledge. Especially for smaller market actors it is difficult to bear the full risk.
Documentation of the webinar is available here:
02 December 2020
On the occasion of the 2nd International Ship Autonomy and Sustainability Summit, the European Commission together with EU Member States, Norway and with valuable industry input published today the comprehensive PDF EU Operational Guidelines on trials of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships. It allows for a harmonised European approach by clarifying the roles of authorities and applicants and provides guidance of what to consider in their assessments when facing Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) trials, including risk assessments. With these Guidelines, the European Commission promotes a high level of maritime safety, which is a precondition for a smart and sustainable autonomous maritime future.
Commissioner Vălean stated: “Automated ships represent an exciting prospect for the future of shipping. They have the potential to increase safety and productivity as well as contribute towards the sustainability goals for maritime transport. Their deployment needs to build on tests and trials, which put their safety at the top of our priorities. I warmly welcome the EU Operational Guidelines on trials of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (LINK), developed with our Member States and Norway. We will continue to engage also internationally, to steer the safe, sustainable and smart development of tomorrow’s ships.”
In the margin of the 2nd International Ship Autonomy and Sustainability Summit, co-organised with the Norwegian Forum for Autonomous Ships, Commissioner Adina Vălean exchanged on the future of autonomous ships with Ministers from Germany, Finland, Norway and South Korea, the Secretary General of IMO as well as high-level experts. The Summit included some 500 registered participants and experts interacting with three high level panels carefully considering how MASS can support the central policy of smart, safe, sustainable and resilient maritime transport in the EU as well as internationally.