4PL Intermodal GmbH
9th November 2023

CT4EU – Combined Transport Delivers.

The EU Combined Transport Directive has been in effect since 1992 and urgently needs an update after two unsuccessful attempts to adapt it. The European Court of Auditors itself sees this regulation as “outdated and ineffective”.

4PL Intermodal is a consistent supporter of the idea of ​​combined transport and has therefore joined the CT4EU initiative. In Brussels on November 7th. and on November 8th, 2023, the changes that should now be introduced were discussed with leading representatives of the railway industry, political stakeholders and members of the European Parliament with the responsible Commissioner for Transport in Europe, Ms. Adina Vălean.

The biggest shortcomings that need to be tackled in the upcoming reform are, according to the experts:

  • The criteria for the “nearest suitable” transhipment terminal to be used by trucks vary in the member states.
  • For CT transports, many paper documents still have to be stamped by rail or port authorities.
  • The minimum distance of 100 kilometers of non-road route excludes transports from ports to the immediate hinterland from CT funding.
  • The regulation of sovereign infrastructure costs allows many exceptions to the toll obligation for trucks, while the railroads always pay for track use.

The demands of the CT4EU initiative can be found here in detail.

The KapangneCT4EUhas initiated an exhibition directly in Parliament to provide further support. Impressions of the exhibition opening and content can be viewed here .

After a long delay, the first draft was finally published on November 7 and could therefore be discussed by the experts.

The first review of the Commission’s proposal to amend the Combined Transport Directive promises to be a real revolution. According to the trade association UIRR, the directive now includes:

  • Explicit and quantifiable recognition of the external advantage of combined transport compared to unimodal long-distance truck transport,
  • The Member States are obliged to draw up a strategic freight transport plan and to include a chapter on the objectives of combined transport,
  • Obligation to implement a mix of support measures that lead to a reduction in the operating costs of combined transport of at least 10%.
  • Expansion of the qualification of combined transport to include purely inland transportation.

The UIRR is currently examining the details of the proposal and analyzing the impact assessment to prepare its opinion. At the same time, the call was repeated for the Combined Transport Directive to be considered in conjunction with the Weights and Dimensions Directive and the new CountEmissionsEU Regulation.

According to the Head of Unit D.1 of DG MOVE, Annika Kroon , this directive will no longer be implemented in this legislative period. With the new government, it will then have an additional implementation phase of 2.5 years.

For 4PL as an interested party not familiar with the decision-making processes of European legislation, it is once again sobering to see how long it takes to implement actual changes. All the more commitment should therefore now be given to the results of the changes in the spirit of European CT.

Your personal B2B contact

Nils Olaf Klabunde


Nils-Olaf Klabunde ist seit über 20 Jahren im intermodalen containerisierten Güterverkehr in unterschiedlichen Positionen aktiv.

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