Today a quarter of the volume of greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere it is caused by transport. Obviously from the more polluting ones. If we want to save the planet we need to exploit the most ecological vectors, so as to divert at least 90% of mobility on virtuous paths. All this by 2050. Sensitive to this alarm, in 2021 theEuropean Union has placed the railway at the center of sustainable mobility. We are in the European year of the train, now recognized at every level as the least polluting vehicle of all. Able to strengthen the links and exchanges between the territories. In other words, advocate of social cohesion.
We talked about it at the thirteenth edition of Mercintreno, the annual forum on rail freight. Where it emerged that in Italy, the share of goods sorted by rail stands at 13% against a European average of 20%. Still too little. It is no coincidence that the EU wants to transfer 50% of goods from rubber to iron by 2030. During Mercintreno – which was attended by 40 of the most important representatives of institutions and the world of transport – the solutions, including technological ones, to achieve the environmental objectives set byEurope and from Pnrr. The prevailing thesis is that of intermodal transport, that is of the train-ship-train chain, to remove the greatest possible quantity of goods from the roads. An obligatory choice, if you want to walk the path of sustainability. A choice that must also be a team effort between freight railways, ports and logistics.
According to founder of Mercintreno, Annita Serio, in Italy “the history of the freight railway makes us think of an athlete who, despite the commitment and support of the team (intermodality and logistics), fails to score and who, in view of 2030, must develop a winning strategy “. At the European level, the first rules on the development of rail freight transport date back to the nineties. In Italy, on the other hand, the liberalization of the market began on the threshold of the year 2000. “They have been lacking on the part of the state – he observes I laughed – economic interventions in favor of the sector, whose performances have never reached the modal rebalancing desired in the various national and European measures “. In the sense that in Italy goods continue to be transported mostly on eraser, which is more punctual, reaches everywhere and costs even less.
Speaking of getting anywhere, the oldest question that still decrees the winning route on the railroad in the freight sector is that of the so-called ‘last mile’. From the tracks to the final destination, the products necessarily need to be loaded onto a non-railway vehicle. Confetra (Italian General Confederation of Transport and Logistics), according to which the funds Pnrr they are extremely scarce, he made a land register of the last railway mile
Italian. Based on sources of Rfi, of the associates to Fercargo Maneuver and on direct investigations, the document has so far surveyed 416 connected terminals.
According to the association, there is no single plan on the construction of the necessary infrastructures. According to what he reports Umberto Ruggerone, president of Assologistica, the supply chain involves from 800 thousand to one million workers and represents the second economic sector in Italy after trade: “We see a great desire to use the railway method, both for future investments that will be able to benefit, and for the question of environmental sustainability”. The debate is also very heated on the train + ship combination. Alberto Rossi, by Assarmatori, he observes: “There is a large gap between terminal companies that must be bridged. The shipowner must be free to access the port facilities in carrying out his business. Access to the network must be improved ”. L’CEO of Rfi (FS Italiane Group) Vera Fiorani ensures that the company aims “to improve the infrastructure and connect it with ports and interports according to a sustainable approach”. To do all this, however, reiterates the vice president of Conftrasporto Guido Gazzola, it is also necessary to invest in the training of personnel (train drivers, maneuverers) and increase the use of the ferrobonus, a contribution for those who choose combined freight transport or transhipped by rail.
Brussels intends to achieve climate neutrality by striving to triple by 2050 the traffic of high-speed and high-capacity trains. For its part theItaly, through Pnrr, could double it by 2030. The government’s goal is to ensure high-speed rail for 9 million people (of which 6 in the South alone), the reduction of CO2, the decrease in road accidents and the elimination of territorial inequalities in rail accessibility. In this perspective, the railway could therefore catch its breath, even in freight transport. But in the maze of regulations and bureaucracy there are still many knots to be solved.