VPI: Rail freight transport needs further modernisation of the infrastructure

VPI: Rail freight transport needs further modernisation of the infrastructure

VPI: Rail freight transport needs further modernisation of the infrastructure

With over 450 guests, the traditional New Year's reception of the Association of Freight Car Owners in Germany e.V. (VPI) set a new attendance record. At the 14th VPI Symposium on the following January 9th, the modernisation of the infrastructure and combined transport were the focus of the debates.

Both formats have seen a steadily growing number of participants for years, so this year they took place for the first time in a new location, the Emporio Tower in Hamburg.“We have to stay on course and push ahead with the modernisation of the rail infrastructure in Germany as planned.It is the sector’s Achilles heel when it comes to ensuring more quantity and quality on the rails,” said VPI chairman Malte Lawrenz at the opening of the VPI symposium in Hamburg.

It is an important signal that the federal government wants to secure the planned funds for rail now and in the future – especially against the background of the planned savings after the Karlsruhe ruling last year.

VPI-Chairman Malte Lawrenz during the Symposium. Photos (3): VPI/ Zielke

Lawrenz emphasised: “The rail industry continues to have its sights set on the goal of a market share of 25 percent in freight transport.” He is pleased that this also seems to apply to politics. In his welcoming speech, the chairman reported that the VPI service company VERS had recently received approval as an ECM certification body from the Federal Railway Authority.

This is a further building block for the expansion of VERS’s range of services, which will in future offer ISO and ECM certifications as well as technical assessments from a single source. The training offering, which is in high demand, is also to be further expanded. In order to align this closely with the needs of the industry, VPI Servicegesellschaft is launching an online survey aimed at wagon owners and workshops in the industry. Participation is now possible at https://de.surveymonkey.com/r/BX69N3J.

Michail Stahlhut (HUPAC) during his lecture.

The topic of infrastructure renewal played a central role in the contributions and discussions in the morning of the symposium. Corinna Salander, head of the railway department at the Ministry of Transport, presented the direction of her house for the coming year. Peter Westenberger, managing director at Die Güterbahnen, assessed the chances of the new infrastructure company InfraGo. Maria Leenen from SCI explained what, in her view, needs to be done to get growth on track.

The afternoon was all about combined transport as a growth driver for rail. After a keynote speech by Michail Stahlhut (Hupac), Torben Jaeger (VTG), Peter Reinshagen (Ermewa) and Karsten Elstner (Kaminski) discussed how fleets and maintenance must develop in order to advance the intermodal growth segment. The one-day symposium concluded with the report by Matthias Knüpling (VTG/UIP) on the current European developments relating to the digital automatic clutch. hfs/dvp

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