ECA: EU freight transport - the truck continues to rule

Long road ahead for EU intermodal freight transport: trains and barges currently cannot compete on equal grounds with trucks and lorries, says a report published today by the European Court of Auditors. Efforts to move freight off the roads have not been effective in removing the regulatory and infrastructure barriers that penalise other modes of transport. These issues need to be addressed if the EU wants to achieve its green ambitions.

Road transport is the most flexible way of delivering goods and often also the fastest and cheapest. This explains why three quarters of freight transported in the EU is still carried by road. Trucks, though, are major polluters. A shift away from roads and an increased use of other modes of transport, such as rail or inland waterways, can play a key role in greening freight transport. To achieve this change, the EU provided over €1.1 billion to support intermodality projects between 2014 and 2020.

Decarbonising transport is at the core of the EU goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as laid out in the European Green Deal,” said Annemie Turtelboom, the ECA member who led the audit. “Although intermodality is a key tool in that effort, the EU freight transport is not on the right track.

Read the Special report of The European Court of Auditors in its entirety here