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Symbol of the second revolution

Alexander Doll, DB Bord Member for Finance, Freight Transport and Logistics and SNCF Logistics CEO Alain Picard are calling for a mobility revolution in favour of rail freight transport.

"In the 19th century, the railway was the symbol of the industrial revolution in Europe. Today, it is up to us to make it the symbol of the mobility and logistics revolution in the 21st century," write Doll and Picard in a joint editorial for the Deutsche Verkehrszeitung. Freight transport remains underutilized today, they argue, despite its clear advantages: environmental friendliness, energy efficiency, safety and cost-effectiveness when externalities are considered.

According to both managers, "trains are the solution for sustainable growth in Europe. They must be placed at the core of future freight transport and must form the backbone of European logistics chains to become a sustainable basis for goods flows within Europe." This is the only way for the European economy to achieve lasting strong growth while meeting its environmental targets, say Doll and Picard. The OECD has estimated that imports and exports within Europe will climb 30% from their current levels by the year 2030.

In this context, Dole and Picard point to the joint "Rail Freight Forward" initiative of the European rail companies and to the "Noah's Train" campaign as examples of international cooperation aimed at increasing the share of rail in overall freight transport in Europe. "Without the railway, Europe would probably not be what it is today. And the more emphatically it promotes rail transport, the more successfully it will be able to navigate the upcoming transition to sustainable energy. Rail has the advantages needed to thrive in future," say Doll and Picard.