Rail’s priorities for the European Green Deal

Summer Cocktail Web-000

The EU and its Member States should implement a number of policy measures to set transport on a path to full decarbonisation by 2050, with a modal shift to rail, effective tools to implement ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ principles and proper funding for clean mobility. European railways are therefore proposing priority measures for the upcoming European Green Deal.

European railways are calling on the European Commission, Parliament and Member States to agree on a strong European Green Deal, one that will help to progressively reduce to net-zero the greenhouse gas emissions from transport and from the wider economy by 2050 at the latest. As the existing green mode of motorised transport – thanks to very low externalities, high degrees of electrification and increasingly zero-carbon operation – they can greatly help greening transport. The European Green Deal should support their contribution.

Overarching policies: With the European Green Deal, the EU and Member States should set ambitious, but realistic milestones 2030/40/50 for decarbonising EU transport. A shift to rail should be supported, for rail freight with an action plan of EU and national measures, for passengers with support for a shift to rail particularly in the case of cross-border travel up to 1000 km. Marginal social-cost pricing should be promoted in transport, i.e. implement the principles of ‘polluter pays’ and ‘user pays’.

Financing and funding: It is important to significantly increase the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) budget for transport. Besides developing rail infrastructure, investment is specifically required for electrifying further rail tracks, further digitalising railways and further reducing rail freight noise. Robust funding should be provided for railway research and innovation. A scale-up of private investment in rail projects should be facilitated.

A level playing field for rail: To allow rail to compete with other transport modes on an equal footing, the European Green Deal should help implement robust carbon pricing for transport across the EU. Specifically, it should allow taxing energy used in international aviation or maritime shipping and end subsidies for flying. Moreover, it should make road charging more comprehensive.

Other priority policies for the European Green Deal include promoting low-emission transport in Erasmus+ programmes, improving cross-border interoperability by swiftly implementing the TEN-T-Regulation, increasing interconnectivity between rail and road and mainstreaming the European Green Deal across all EU policies, to boost the energy transition and develop sustainable cities.

As additional policies, the EU and respectively Member States should temporarily waive part of rail track access charges, reduce the customs guarantee burden for rail freight, promote sustainable tourism and improve transport eco-labelling to help travellers and shippers to make well-informed choices.

European railways are a key to EU transport decarbonisation and asking the EU to help them maximise their contribution. In return, they will further improve their energy efficiency, further reduce their specific CO2 emissions, further improve their processes and operational efficiency, further innovate rail services and products, and closely cooperate with other modes of transport to further develop Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

The items above are explained in detail, and many of them supported by concrete figures, in CER’s position paper “Rail’s priorities for the European Green Deal” published here today.

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman commented: “European railways warmly welcome the plan of the incoming European Commission for a European Green Deal to support the EU’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. As the existing green mode of motorised transport, rail can make a key contribution to this transition with a modal shift to clean transport. They are today making concrete proposals on how the Deal can support their contribution. CER stands ready to engage with policymakers to help the European Green Deal deliver clean mobility for all.

DHL ramps up its rail network and service along the new silk road


Located in Le Havre, France, Felixstowe, UK and Genoa, Italy, the local Rail Centers are staffed with China Rail Experts who advise customers and efficiently coordinate freight volumes.

Three new European Rail Competence Centers in France, Italy, and the UK provide customer service and freight handling between Europe and Asia.

  • Three new European Rail Competence Centers in France, Italy, and the UK provide customer service and freight handling between Europe and Asia
  • DHL Global Forwarding launches fastest freight rail service between China and Germany

Bonn – In response to growing demand for rail freight services between Europe and Asia, DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist of Deutsche Post DHL Group, has opened three additional Rail Competence Centers in Europe and is introducing the fastest rail freight connection between China and Germany. Located in Le Havre, France, Felixstowe, UK and Genoa, Italy, the local Rail Centers are staffed with China Rail Experts who advise customers and efficiently coordinate freight volumes. The new rail service, operating between Xi’an in China and Hamburg and Neuss in Germany, has been set up in cooperation with Xi’an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group Co. Ltd. and is cutting transit time from 17 days to between 10 and 12 days.

“We’ve seen a substantial increase in rail freight volumes along the ‘New Silk Road’ from China to Europe and vice versa,” states Thomas Kowitzki, Head of China Rail, Multimodal Europe, DHL Global Forwarding. “Rail freight products are attractive due to their cost-effectiveness, short transit time, and lower CO2 emissions compared to other transport modes. Moreover, they require the real operational expertise that we bring to the table. We are happy to further expand our European Rail presence with a focus on rail transport in the DHL network. With our growing number of dedicated Country Rail Competence Centers and cutting-edge rail services we are offering the right portfolio of transport expertise and solutions for our customers while their business between Europe and Asia continues to grow.”

Customer service and freight handling through dedicated local teams

The Rail Competence Centers already coordinate significant volumes of export and import flows, including less-than-container-load (LCL) DHL RailConnect and full-container-load (FCL) DHL RailLine products. In addition to freight handling, dedicated teams offer comprehensive customer service. They coordinate end-to-end transport processes from collection and export all the way to customs clearance and delivery by truck or combined rail transport to the final destination. Customers benefit from shipment tracking, including temperature information upon request. Following the four Regional Rail Competence Centers in China and a European DHL Rail Competence Center in Poland, the first dedicated Country DHL Rail Competence Center was opened in Stuttgart, Germany in 2017.

Cutting-edge transit time of 10 and 12 days

Starting in Xi’an, at the heart of the New Silk Road economic belt, the new rail service takes an approximate 9,400 km route through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Lithuania to Kaliningrad Oblast, a part of the Russian Federation on the south coast of the Baltic Sea, before entering the European Union via the Mamonovo-Braniewo crossing. The final stretch of the route crosses Poland into Germany to the port city of Hamburg, and to Neuss, an important logistics hub on the Rhine River opposite Düsseldorf. This also shortens transit times for customers to other European countries e.g. Benelux, France and UK. Traversing numerous countries, the fastest rail service between China and Germany was created with the support of China Railway, Belintertrans, RTSB Gmbh, and UTLC – Eurasian Rail Alliance.

The fast Xi’an-Germany rail connection will offer customers real-time milestone visibility, using GPS tracking of shipments via the iSee software platform to give shippers door-to-door visibility and insight into any shipping exceptions as soon as they occur.

With the expansion of its intermodal network and expertise, DHL Global Forwarding emphazises the core of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s recently presented new corporate “Strategy 2025 – Delivering excellence in a digital world”. The Group’s purpose remains to connect people and improve their lives by enabling trade and helping businesses to grow.