The Netherlands and Germany are joining forces to increase the appeal and efficiency of rail freight transport even further. Dutch State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure and Water Management) and her German counterpart State Secretary Enak Ferlemann set down agreements to this end in Berlin, last Tuesday.
State Secretary Van Veldhoven: “Germany is our main trading partner, and considering the fact that the transport capacity of a single train equals that of 56 trucks the rail freight sector can play a role of paramount importance in our sustainable future. That is why my colleague Enak Ferlemann and I intend to collectively boost this future-proof sector even further.”
State Secretary Enak Ferlemann: “Germany and the Netherlands are both aiming to expand the share of rail freight shippers in the transport sector. We are pleased that our cross-border collaboration is now being intensified and we would like to optimise the conditions for freight transporters. This is what we will be working on together.”
Via a combined working group, the Netherlands and Germany will be expending more concerted efforts in fields such as digitisation and automation of the sector. For example, the near future will see cross-border field tests of innovations such as self-driving trains. Targeted investments, more efficient use of the rail network, and improved alignment of working processes must expedite the feasibility of running even longer trains (740 metres in length). This saves costs, which makes it an attractive option for shippers. At the bilateral and European levels, the two countries are already working on the improvement of cross-border rail connections.
Over the past year, both the Netherlands and Germany have developed ambitious sets of measures aimed at enhancing the competitive position of rail freight transport. The Netherlands has also made it mandatory for freight transporters to take a range of vibration and noise abatement measures to reduce nuisance to local residents.