TRA 2018 and TEN-T Days 2018

As we have already mentioned partly in our previous articles, the second half of April was marked by two major events – Transport Research Arena 2018 and TEN-T Days 2018 – focusing on what the future Transport System will look like or how it should look like, both for passengers and freight. ESC was asked to express its views in several panel sessions at both events. But we also commented and questioned what was said on different stages at TRA 2018 and TEN-T Days 2018.

While TRA 2018 was about research activities, TEN-T Days looked at the policy aspects from a TEN-T corridor perspective. Both events were covering all transport modes, with aviation included for the first time in TEN-T Days’ programme.

TRA 2018, during which ESC teamed up with the European Technology Platform ALICE (ETP-ALICE), was focusing on topics like shaping of a new mobility landscape, how digitalisation transforms transport and mobility, systems and technologies towards physical internet, and, of course, data security and decarbonisation.

Several TEN-T topics are very high on ESC’s agenda. During the TEN-T Days, in road transport section, much attention was given to safe and secure parking and to the road transport’s request to have more such areas available. For ESC, safe and secure parking is a crucial issue. First, it is about our members’ goods and second, it’s only fair that truck drivers would be treated the same way as our members’ employees.

With respect to the rail freight, the rail community requested to take breakthrough measures to make rail freight more attractive. Especially the current procedures related to crossing borders were heavily under fire.

Regarding aviation, we learned that many new initiatives had been taken to overcome the potential problem of lacking airspace and slots at the airports. These measures do shorten flight duration and reduce delays; obviously airfreight does benefit from that as well. On the other hand, airports becoming more like shopping malls and low-cost carriers taking no airfreight lead to the indirect effect of airfreight being discriminated.

Panel sessions on maritime transport raised interesting debates on digitalisation and alternative fuels. Attending these sessions ESC expressed its concerns with the alliances, mega vessels, and the upcoming revision of the Block Exemption Regulation.

Being part of one of the most important TEN-T panels, ESC discussed together with DG MOVE’s Director General Henrik Hololei and the leading MEP Wim van de Camp Europe’s Future Transport System and its connectivity, particularly the maritime part. We took the opportunity to express an urgent need for a dialogue with the maritime community with respect to our concerns, because dialogue is the beginning of any connectivity.

About 4000 people attended the TRA 2018 and TEN-T Days 2018. The driving force behind the events, and especially behind the TEN-T Days, was the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission.

Please, make sure not to miss the next editions of Transport Research Arena and TEN-T Days in 2020.