EU planning to shift freight traffic from road to rail

  • 2020-01-17
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - One of the key objectives of the European Commission's European Green Deal is to shift 75 percent of freight traffic from road to rail and sea, which means that Estonia will need to continue its efforts in rail development.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas said that better rail links play an important role in maintaining the competitiveness of the Estonian economy, particularly in the light of the European Green Deal.

"Without Rail Baltic we would quickly end up in economic isolation, because the future policy of the European Union will strongly shift cargo away from roads," Aas said.

The minister added that the European Green Deal also means approval for railway electrification and potentially additional funding for the rail industry.

"The European Green Deal proves that the government's steps taken so far towards climate neutrality as well as the planned investments in railways have been boosting momentum in the right direction," he said. 

Aas pointed out that Germany announced this week it will invest 86 billion euros in its rail networks within the coming 10 years. German Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer has also said that this is the decade for railway.

"Traveling by plane is currently the most attractive way for people to cover long distances; however, there are more and more plans for creating advantages for train traffic, which is a significantly more sustainable alternative," he said.

One-fourth of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union are caused by the transport sector, and the proportion is growing. In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, emissions from transport must be reduced 90 percent through the joint contribution of road, rail, air and water transport sectors.