Rail Freight

In 2011 an EU 'white paper' set the aim of 30% of road freight over 300km be shifted to rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050. Yet rail’s share of freight has actually declined slightly since 2011.

Many companies currently choose to transport goods by more polluting modes of transport for price and flexibility reasons. Rail has costs that are unique to the mode, as well as logistic complexities that don’t exist for road transport. However, there exists the potential for more goods to be transported by rail.

T&E wants rail to transport the highest percentage of freight as possible. In 2015, T&E developed a platform that engages with a diverse group of stakeholders in rail freight to develop ways for rail to increase their share of freight transport. Like passenger rail, T&E want freight trains to become more customer-orientated and sustainable so that they become more successful.

Rail freight blog

T&E managed a rail freight platform between 2015-2019. This platform provided us with the opportunity to meet with key stakeholders in rail and organise workshops to discuss some of the main setbacks to modal shift. We have learned a lot about why rail freight is not growing in Europe at the rate needed to reach the EU’s White Paper targets. These findings, as well as some stakeholder opinion pieces, can be found online at lowcarbonfreight.eu. This site offers some suggestions on how policymakers can play a bigger role in supporting modal shift as a means to decarbonise transport.