(Frankfurt/Main, 22 February 2021) Kombiverkehr KG ended the 2020 financial year with a total of 858,079 truck consignments (one consignment corresponds to the capacity of a truck-trailer combination), or 1.72 million TEU, which were shifted from the roads and sea routes onto climate-friendly rail. This means that 3.0 per cent fewer containers, swap bodies and semitrailers in total were transported compared with the previous year. With the German economy having already been on the cusp of recession in 2019, last year this trend was exacerbated by the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic in particular. In the months of April and May the operator suffered a drop of some 15 per cent in volumes across the network due to the economic collapse. The number of shipments stabilised in the following months, delivering a return to growth in the last quarter of 2020.
"In an economic climate as volatile and hard to quantify such as this, we at Kombiverkehr can be satisfied with the results in the last quarter of 2020, even if our expectations were much higher. At the moment we are sensing increased demand on the market for transport solutions offering eco-friendly added value and hence a tailwind for our services," says Robert Breuhahn, Managing Director of the company, summarising the situation. "With less energy being consumed per ton kilometre, multimodal transport is and remains the ideal mechanism for saving huge volumes of CO2. That means we are meeting the climate policy requirements set by industry and commerce, those of our forwarding customers and, ultimately, the targets set out in the European Union's Green Deal." Thanks to their commitment to intermodal transport, in 2020 customers saved 1,005,000 tons of harmful carbon dioxide in partnership with Kombiverkehr.
Starting the Year of Rail with new train products
Kombiverkehr has made a successful start to the European Year of Rail with a large number of additions to its network. The beginning of February saw the first departure of the new Lübeck – Verona v.v. direct train linking Italy with Scandinavia and the Baltic states in journey times – depending on the country – ranging from 48 (Sweden) to 72 (Finland) hours. The new product is offered as a one-stop shop solution in partnership with ferry companies, meaning just one booking is required. In addition, since the turn of the year intra-Italian services have been boosted by a new route between Verona and Bari Giovinazzo offered in conjunction with Mercitalia Intermodal and Lugo Terminal S.p.A. "Just recently we switched the Atlantic route for Spanish services to the DUSS terminal in Duisburg-Ruhrort Hafen. That has once again increased the number of efficient onward services in Germany and to and from Benelux, Scandinavia and Poland. Our unique gateway concept means that every new train product we add opens up a large number of new routes that make the national and international transport chains on eco-friendly rail even more attractive," says Managing Director Alexander Ochs.
Incentives for new entrants and long-standing users demanded
To ensure that the positive trend in consignments from the last quarter of 2020 continues and the modal split moves in favour of rail over the long term, Kombiverkehr believes that politicians have an obligation to reward all users of environmentally-friendly intermodal transport for the day-to-day commitment. The company is demanding incentives both for new entrants and for long-standing users of the system, such as those already in existence in other countries. It is calling for an increase in financial resources and a "de minimis for rail" programme to provide relief, make it significantly easier for potential CT users to shift from road to rail and reduce the economic risk of the switchover in the logistics sector. "In a year when Germany goes to the polls, the transport sector continues to face the challenges of bringing about the transport transition quickly and with a minimum of bureaucracy and increasing the proportion of clean means of transport. Intermodal transport is the measure of all things when it comes to distributing goods and merchandise across national and regional borders by train and truck in a flexible, climate-friendly way. What we need to do now is come out in favour of rail and step up the pace for the transport transition," says Managing Director Armin Riedl, who sees this year as being the right time for rail.
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