On 6 May 2017, under the joint umbrella of ESC and CER/UIC, a delegation of 11 shippers met with the CEOs of European rail freight companies members of CER and UIC. One of the key topics on the agenda was the need for key performance indicators, in order to increase the transparency of rail freight services’ performance. KPIs would allow all parties to improve their knowledge of factors that have a negative impact on punctuality, to develop solutions and track progress over time. Participants also discussed the need for better solutions allowing shippers to track and trace their products when transported by rail, as well as how to ensure that shippers receive an estimated time of arrival for their shipments, especially in case of delays. Last but not least, participants discussed various options to reduce the costs associated with last mile operations, in order to increase the overall competitiveness of rail.
As a follow-up, ESC will work with railway undertakings to increase transparency in terms of rail freight performance, but also infrastructure managers’ performance, and will explore solutions for tracking and tracing, as well as possible ways of widening the scope of an ongoing pilot project on estimated time of arrival to ensure that conventional rail does not get forgotten.
This meeting was the first between an ESC delegation of shippers and European rail freight CEOs as part of their annual High Level Freight Meeting. It will be followed by more joined up work at operational level to improve the competitiveness and quality of rail freight services, and ensure that shippers’ needs are better integrated in railway undertakings’ thinking.