The 6th Global Rail Freight Conference (June 26-28, 2018) has discussed the urgent need to increase rail connections between the Italian national railway network and Italian ports to develop intermodal services that facilitate, through the TEN-T corridors, the exchange of goods with Europe.

The event was organized by Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC), in Genoa, a particularly symbolic location because it leads to the access south of the TEN-T Corridor Rhine-Alps, the main European freight corridor.

“The development of an integrated rail freight transport system, one of the pillars of FS Italiane’s 2017-2026 Industrial Plan, is the priority for promoting trade between Europe and the world”, said Renato Mazzoncini, Chairman of the UIC and Managing Director and General Manager of FS Italiane. “This is why the €30 billion ($34.68 billion) made available to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme of the European Union for the period 2021-2027 are very important. Funds that will serve to improve the interoperability of national railway infrastructures at a continental level. Another determining factor is the installation of the technological system European Rail Traffic Management System ( ERTMS ) on all the TEN-T corridors to make them passable, without interruption by all railway companies”.

Worldwide, over 70% of goods move by sea and maritime transport has become the backbone of the world economy. Italy with its ports has access to about 20% of the goods traded globally, in transit on the Mediterranean Sea which is only extended for 1% of the world surface area. In the Italian ports mainly goods from the Far East arrived, destined for European countries. For this reason, the development of the TEN-T corridors ( Rhine-Alps, Mediterranean, Scandinavian-Mediterranean, Baltic-Adriatic ) together with the strengthening of the national railway system and the port system are fundamental to make Italy a logistic centre of primary importance and neuralgic for Europe.

Of the 15 national strategic ports, only those of Ancona, Genoa, Gioia Tauro, La Spezia, Livorno, Ravenna, Taranto, Trieste and Venice are connected to the national railway network. By 2026, the port of Naples will also be connected. Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RTI) has planned investments of €1 billion ($1.16 billion) to improve the connections between the ports and the railway network to, decongest the road system, and upgrade the complete railway network.

A further €4 billion ($4.62 billion) will be invested by RFI, by 2026, for the technological and infrastructural upgrading of the railway lines. The TEN-T corridors lines will be adapted to European standards.

The development of freight and logistics also involves the Polo Mercitalia, set up in January 2017 with the aim of relaunching freight transport by rail. Polo Mercitalia, by exploiting the upgrading of the railway infrastructure, will increase the productivity of freight trains by 20%. In fact, €350 million ($404.58 million) of investment in rolling stock is planned as well as the increase of the workforce with 300 drivers and operators.

Of crucial importance is to ensure that investments made with a view to environmental sustainability have a financial instrument, at European level, which guarantees the use of resources. These investments include the development of rail freight transport, which reaches 30% of the total by 2030, in line with the Paris COP 21/23 climate agreement.

Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS Italiane) is a state-owned holding company that manages infrastructure and services on the Italian rail network.

Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (railway infrastructure manager) and Polo Mercitalia (freight management) are part ofFS Italiane.

Source: PortsEurope