Freight transport and the logistics initiative of the Federal Ministry
Whether import, export or transit transport: Transport relations with other countries are of great importance for Austria. It is often not possible to simply determine the choice of transport mode together with its environmental impacts within the framework of the domestic transport policy. This is why it is so important to work together actively with the bodies of the European Union (EU) and other international organisations.
Logistics initiative of the Federal Ministry
Freight transport and logistics make a considerable contribution to domestic added value and thus safeguard jobs and economic prosperity. With this in mind, the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) is clearly committed to Austria being a strong logistics location. As early as 2014, the BMK launched a logistics initiative with the primary objective of increasing the competitiveness of the Austrian freight transport and logistics sector, enhancing the attractiveness of the location and ensuring social and environmental sustainability. Since then, a “Logistics Action Plan” with specific measures has formed the basis for the work in the area of freight transport logistics.
Freight transport is continually growing. It is not only in the polluted urban environment and along the transport routes that the requirements of the economy, population and environment must be met with the intelligent use of new technical and infrastructure possibilities. The efficient supply of rural areas must also be secured to counteract the growing differences between urban und rural areas. The implementation of innovative logistics concepts requires close cooperation between companies, public authorities and various other parties to be able to achieve the desired effects in the long term.
With the logistics support, the Logistics Coordination staff unit of the Federal Ministry contributes to risk and expenditure coverage of innovative logistics concepts and their implementation. Feasibility studies and specific implementation projects, for which existing market maturity or previous successful testing are a prerequisite, are promoted. This ensures that the project can be used specifically.
In view of the growing traffic flows in and through Austria, particularly on the roads, the Austrian transport policy already took action at an early stage to promote environmentally friendly modes of transport such as combined transport.
These measures include financial incentives like investment grants, compensation for public benefits as well as tax benefits, regulatory framework conditions, infrastructure measures for rail and combined transport, and electronic cargo transport information.
The “rolling road” – also called Ro-La – is, for example, a special transport system that combines road and rail transport, by transporting trucks on trains. During the train journey, the truck drivers can reside in a serviced couchette coach that is part of the train. The rolling road is therefore also part of accompanied, combined transport.
European Union (EU)
There is no doubt that the EU is of the greatest importance for Austrian transport policy. The transport ministers of the EU Member States assemble twice every half a year for a meeting of the Council of the European Union in the area of “Transport”. In addition, an informal meeting can also take place once every half a year on the initiative of the respective holder of the EU Presidency. At the level of officials, the Federal Ministry participates in the meetings of about a dozen working groups in Brussels, which meet throughout the year and perform the preliminary work for the ministerial meetings.
The Alpine Convention
The Federal Ministry is represented in the “Transport” working group of the Alpine Convention and, if required, also in sub-working groups. The Alpine Convention is a treaty between Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and the European Union. The treaty’s objective is the protection of the Alps and the sustainable development of this region. The Transport Protocol obligates the contracting parties to ensure sustainable mobility in the Alpine region that is suitable for humans, animals and plants.
Smart Urban Logistics
The BMK launched the initiative Smart Urban Logistics to shape freight logistics in urban areas to include in the design all those responsible from the areas of shippers and recipients, logistics and transport and, above all, those responsible in the municipalities. Regionally tailored concepts are to be developed and also implemented jointly.