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					                                    Press Release
                   AQUITAINE-EUSKADI LOGISTICS PLATFORM
     The PLAE attended the II International ETS Symposium on New Construction
                Technologies and Techniques in the Railway Sector


The Aquitaine-Euskadi Logistics Platform (PLAE) attended the II International Symposium on New
Construction Technologies and Techniques in the Railway Sector organised by Euskal Trenbide Sarea
                      th          th
(ETS) from the 8 to the 10 of October at the Palacio Euskalduna Conference Centre of Bilbao.
 Nuria López de Guereñu, Counsellor for Transport and Public Works of the Basque Government and
President of Euskal Trenbide Sarea, was in charge of opening the Symposium, informing participants that
speakers at the event, whose main focus was innovation, included representatives of railway companies, UIC,
university professors, consultants, railway operators and one from the European Union. She stated that one of
the objectives of the European Union was the construction of a comprehensive railway network and the
separation of the infrastructure manager and the railway operator, carried out on the basis of European
directives.
Then the prestigious professor Andrés López Pita gave the opening lecture, entitled New Horizons in Rail
Freight Transport: Reality or Utopia, in which he spoke of the repercussions of the reduction in the role of
railways in the transport sector, which has entailed a significant increase in the sector’s petrol consumption and
CO2 emissions.
He added that some factors that explain the limited participation of railways is the major development of road
networks; the reduction of the rail network; and the limited quality of rail offer. In his words, "it seems that non-
compliance with the transport deadline is the major reason why clients do not choose railways. If schedules
were respected, railways would have a 20% market share. However, there are some difficulties in providing
quality service. At an international level note should be made of the large variety of electrification and signalling
systems and differences in track width. At an internal level, each rail network must face the traditional rules of
priority of operation; the length of the siding tracks; the difficulties to access ports and the lack of capacity at
terminals".
Likewise, he pointed out "the current limitations in rail freight transport entail lack of competitiveness". In
consequence, a series of actions have been taken to improve the position of railways in the freight transport
market, such as raising speeds. The Professor declared that "it is more important not to stop than to develop
very high maximum speeds; with top speeds of 100/120 km/h deadlines that are competitive with road
transport can be achieved; and in order to circulate at speeds of 140/160 km/h you have to have technology
which is not that interesting from an economic point of view. Another line of action should be geared at having
lines reserved for freight traffic, which would entail a reduction in the times of transport, maximum flexibility and
increased capacity".
According to Andrés López, the rail freight sector has a series of handicaps such as: insufficient technical
interoperability; different tariff systems for the use of infrastructures; and insufficient coordination in the
management of international traffic. He concluded with the idea that the main objective is to have a more
effective and balanced transport system that is respectful with the environment.
Speakers at the Symposium also included Eckhard Kuhla, Director of Ekoconsult; Eugenio Muzio, President
of the Board of Directors of UIRR; Gerard Dalton, Director for Infrastructures at UIC; Oliver Sellnick, Director
of Railway Operators at UIC; Philippe Mangeard, President of Modalohr; Ted Krohn, KrohnConsult
International; Vicente Luque Cabal, Deputy Director of the European Commission’s TransEuropean Transport
Networks Unit; Eduardo Molina Soto, Deputy Director General for Plans and Projects of the Ministry of
Development; Iñigo Palomino, Director General of Eusko Trenbideak; Mauricio Bussolo, Administrative
Director of the Genova Port Authority; Denis Paillat, Director for Development of Veolia; Miquel Llevat,
Director General of COMSA Transporte and Eduardo Molina Soto, Deputy Director General for Plans and
Projects of the Ministry of Development.
In his intervention Gerard Dalton highlighted that the future of rail freight transport was in the hands of a few
shareholders and that it was not clear whether an agreement would be reached between the sector’s policy
and business prospects that would ensure the overall growth of traffic. Nonetheless, he thought that rail freight
traffic had significant potential to grow rapidly if a European law favouring railways was passed. Furthermore,
he insisted that some changes were needed in order to enable the development of rail transport, including,
amongst others, to have investments in infrastructures as a priority, to take into consideration environmental
aspects and to reinforce social acceptance of railway in contrast with road transport.
Vicente Luque Cabal stated that the European Commission felt it was necessary to improve the current
situation and practices of rail freight transport by means of better coordination between infrastructure
managers and member states. One of the key ideas he highlighted was to temporarily merge intermodality and
logistics to facilitate the connection with ports.
Miquel Llevat, as the representative of COMSA, stated that rail operators agreed that the real driving force of
liberalisation are clients, who are demanding from the new generation railway companies comprehensive
logistics services and a single interlocutor for their contracts.
Lastly, Iñigo Palomino, after giving a brief presentation of Euskotrenbideak, spoke of the activities of
Euskocargo and its prospects for the future. He insisted on the importance of projects to connect with the
metric gauge railway network of the ports of Bermeo and Pasajes.

				
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posted:12/12/2011
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