Introduction of the White Paper

Supporting intermodal transport is a major part of the Commissions White Paper: European Transport Policy for 2010 : Time to decide . It contributes to the objective of shifting the balance between modes. The aim of the Commissions policy on Intermodal Freight Transport is to support the efficient door to door movement of goods, using two or more modes of transport, in an integrated transport chain. Each mode of transport has its own advantages e.g. potential capacity, high levels of safety, flexibility, low energy consumption, low environmental impact; intermodal transport allows each mode to play its role in building transport chains which overall are more efficient, cost effective and sustainable.

White Paper Orientations

Road haulage is set to grow by 50% between 1998 and 2010. In line with the Conclusions of the Gothenburg Council of June 2001, one of the objectives of the White Paper is to shift the balance between the modes. The Commissions policy, through an integrated package of measure, aims to limit the increase to 38%. The White Paper proposes to achieve this first by improving the performance of the alternatives to road transport- short sea shipping, rail and inland waterway. Actions will hence focus on supporting alternatives to road transport particularly for the "long haul" section of journeys. This not only reduces congestion, but improves road safety and is good for the environment.

Policy Initiatives and Programmes

On 22nd July 2003, the Council and the Parliament adopted the Marco Polo programme. The programme runs from 2003-2006 and its goal is to help shift the expected increase of international road freight to short sea shipping, rail and inland waterway. Its predecessor was the PACT programme (Pilot Actions for Combined Transport), active from 1997 to 2001. On the 14th July 2004, the Commission has proposed the follow-up programme of Marco Polo- Marco Polo II. Marco PoloII is an initiative of the Commission for a new regulatory framework which has to be agreed by the European Parliament as well as the European Council.The Commissions proposal build on the experience gained from the PACT programme and Marco Polo and would represent a significantly expansion in the size and scope of the programme. In line with market economy principles, Community support is only given for actions which are forecast to be viable on their own in the short and medium term. The White Paper also proposed the development of Motorways of the Sea as a real competitive alternative to land transport. On the 29th April 2004 new TEN-T Guidelines were adopted giving a legal framework for the funding of motorways of the sea. Project implementation will start in 2005. To support the development of intermodal transport the Commission also funds a range of Research, Demonstration and Networking Activities on priority topics. These activities are proposed and managed by independent consortia of European organizations. On the 7th April 2003, the Commission proposed a framework Directive of the European Parliament and Council on standardization and harmonization of intermodal loading units. The goal of this measure is to reduce inefficiencies in intermodal transport resulting from various sizes of containers circulating in Europe. Furthermore, the measure will help to better integrate short sea shipping into the intermodal transport chain. During 2003 a consultation was undertaken with industry and Member States to investigate ways to improve the integration of the different transport modes. As a result of this consultation the Commission intends to come forward with an action plan to improve the organization of intermodal freight transport. With this initiative, the Commission intends to help improving freight forwarding practices to boost intermodal transport" .

White paper 2011 Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system

The European Commission adopted a roadmap of 40 concrete initiatives for the next decade to build a competitive transport system that will increase mobility, remove major barriers in key areas and fuel growth and employment. At the same time, the proposals will dramatically reduce Europe's dependence on imported oil and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050.

By 2050, key goals will include:

- No more conventionally-fuelled cars in cities.
- 40% use of sustainable low carbon fuels in aviation; at least 40% cut in shipping emissions.

- A 50% shift of medium distance intercity passenger and freight journeys from road to rail and waterborne transport.

- All of which will contribute to a 60% cut in transport emissions by the middle of the century.