Modal Shift


Rail Freight Forward

Lineas is one of the founding members of Rail Freight Forward, a coalition of European rail freight companies that are committed to drastically reducing the negative impact of freight transport on the planet and mobility through innovation and a more intelligent transport mix. Freight transport represents almost 10% of all CO2 emissions in Europe. This is mainly caused by our heavy reliance on trucks, as 75% of the entire freight sector is done over the road. Every year, each driver spends 120 hours in traffic jams and 50.000 people die prematurely because of air pollution and road accidents. By 2030, freight transport is expected to grow by 30%. That is roughly the size of the entire German freight transport market or 1 million trucks added on European roads. If nothing changes, the impact on our environment and society will be disastrous. We urgently need a modal shift from road to rail. Freight transport by rail is the much more climate-conscious mode of transport. The facts are there: the rail emits 9 times less CO2, uses 6 times less energy and causes 8 times less air pollution. And it is solves our mobility issue. The Rail Freight Forward coalition has the ambition to increase the modal share of rail freight to 30% by 2030. How they want to achieve this, you can read on

What needs to happen in Belgium?

On 14th December 2018 at the UN Climate Conference in Katowice (Poland), Rail Freight Forward launched its action plan to drastically reduce the negative impact of freight transport on the planet and mobility. This plan, which explains the conditions necessary to make the modal shift a reality, was also detailed locally by the Belgian Rail Freight Forum, consisting of rail freight operators active in Belgium.


In Belgium, the Belgian Rail Freight Forum has the ambition to double the volumes of goods transported by rail by 2030. They aim to do this by continuing to focus on innovative solutions that can be competitive with road transport in terms of frequency, reliability, flexibility, price and service.


Next to this, the Belgian Forum asks the government to develop a transport policy that encourages a healthy modal mix with rail freight as backbone. Specifically, they ask the government to take action on three levels:

1.The infrastructure manager Infrabel must be given the task, the mandate and the resources to roll out and manage a high-quality rail network according to customers’ needs and mobility.
2.The government must make it easier and cheaper for companies to opt for rail transport. This can be done by partially reimbursing the costs of transferring lorries to trains as well as the costs for the first and last mile.
3.The government should take the example of neighbouring countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. These countries have deliberately radically reduced the costs of train paths, the costs that operators pay for using the railways.


If we manage to double the volumes of goods transported by 2030, we will avoid 90.000 trucks on the road, 1,5 million tons of CO2 and 2.000 tons of fine particles per year!


More information in our white paper