30 November 2016 – Brussels (B)

IRU Road Transport Conference – One belt, One road.

Participants:

  • Peter Paul Ruschin – DEKRA auditor
  • Dirk Penasse

Conclusion:

China’s major policy programme ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) offers significant opportunities for European road transport operators, but needs to be supported by investment and development of transport infrastructure and the use of trade facilitation tools, such as TIR.

These were the main findings of the 5th IRU/EU Road Transport Conference – ‘One Belt, One Road – consequences for Europe’. The conference participants identified a number of challenges and solutions that exist in Europe if the potential of the OBOR policy is to be maximised.

Umberto de Pretto, IRU’s Secretary General, said, “The new silk road between China and the EU has the potential to increase trade, stimulate economic development along its route and reduce transport times. Trade facilitation tools are an essential element of this increased trade. With China recently acceding to the multi-modal TIR Convention the tools are in place to properly support the overland transport links between the two trading block and their partner countries in between.”

Jan Nemec, who currently leads IRU’s work in the EU said, “It is clear that there needs to be significant EU investment in transport infrastructure, such as multi-modal transport hubs, if Europe is to fully benefit from the opportunities on offer from increased overland trade between China and the Europe. Road transport has a major part to play in spreading those opportunities to European businesses and consumers.”

Increases in transport efficiency and travel times, along with the ability to connect new business zones and land locked countries with major European and Chinese markets, were also identified as major opportunities resulting from the OBOR initiative.

The conference was supported by the Slovakian Presidency to the EU and brought together 300 of Europe’s leading transport professionals and representatives of the Chinese Mission to the European Union.

The Chinese would like to rely on new standards in this project. They want also to have pilot projects, as for example a rail corridor of 300 kilometres between Hungary and

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Serbia. Target: rail transport in 11 days with rail from China to the EU. The connection affects the Baltic, Adriatic and Black See. All participants are welcome to join in the effort. According to Mr. Wang from China this is a great opportunity and just the beginning.

Transport Minister of Slovakia, Mr Ersek

Mr. Ersek explained that priorities encompass the completion of the corridor, which should be finished in 2025. He stressed the importance of having a level playing field for all involved stakeholders.

Chairman of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, Mr Cramer

Mr. Cramer explained that between the EU and China development was still lacking. We need a good road infrastructure and the road structure is not satisfying, yet. We have to improve the road structure. We need standards and laws. It is necessary to ensure that projects in the EU are realized with EU standards. He stressed that the EU had to complete its infrastructure; there are too many gaps, especially in southern and Eastern Europe.

Deputy Director General of DG MOVE, Matthew Baldwin

Mr Baldwin stressed that the investor rights should be the same in the EU and China, that the TEN-T core network will have to be completed until 2030 and that multimodality is the key to full connectivity. Priorities encompass solutions that can be reproduced, sustainability and economic value creation.

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