Consensus on a Green Corridor Öresund-Hamburg – but how?
Many important politicians and professionals participated in the Green STRING Corridor Midterm Conference at Langelinie in Copenhagen in the first week of March. Guest speakers featured Gudrun Schulze from the European Commission and Susanne Krawack from CONCITO and the Danish Congestion Committee (Trængselskommissionen).

The Midterm Conference was opened by Vibeke Storm Rasmussen, Chairman of the Capital Region of Denmark and of the STRING Political Network who stressed the importance of combing the idea of high speed trains from both Norway and Sweden together with the Fehmarn Fixed Link to generate a larger synergy of knowledge, attractiveness, skills and jobs for citizens in all three countries.

 

Infrastructure and carbon footprints

 

 Susanne Krawack from CONCITO - the Danish green think tank - and member of the Danish Congestion Committee representing The Ecological Council openly claimed her interests in fighting the climate challenge and carbon emissions. She made it clear that even though the national carbon footprint per Dane has decreased, their total - and global - carbon footprint is growing due to their consumption of goods. Consumer goods and food and beverages are the bad guys in the CO2 account. This calls for a crucial look at the transport sector regarding freight - of which 90 % is based on fossil fuel. We need to be more efficient, we need to change the fuels and energy sources and we also need a change in behavior

 

Susanne Krawack

Susanne Krawack

 

Susanne Krawack also pointed out that many of the larger infrastructure projects, tunnels and bridges and so on, are especially taxing on our climate.

 

"The large cement constructions cost a lot of carbon emission to build. The developers must remember to think green when constructing by making the use of cement as low as possible. I know that the Copenhagen Metro is working on constructing their tunnels as thin as possible for that exact reason".

 

The TEN-T and Green Corridors

 

 Gudrun Schulze, Senior Policy Coordinator, Directorate General for Mobility and Transport, presented the European Commission's view on Green Corridors and their connection to the TEN-T Policy. She especially underlined the importance of coordination regarding new infrastructure investments. It is important not to involuntarily create new bottlenecks. But issues of public involvement and low carbon emission were also important in the Green Corridors, as they should become model cases for others. The Policy Coordinator saw The Green STRING Corridor as an instructive case and commented that the Commission looks forward to follow the results of the project.

 

Paneldebatt

 

The panel on playing fields

 

 Gudrun Schulze joined a panel discussion. The panel included Susanne Krawack, Michael Svane, CEO of Transport at The Confederation of Danish Industry, Gottfried Eymer, CEO of DB Schenker Rail Scandinavia and Project Manager of Green SRTING STRING Corridor, Leif Gjesing. Even though the panel members were all in favor of a fossil free Europe and a fossil free society, the task did not seem an easy one. Michael Svane pointed out that seen from the industry's perspective it was essential to find positive business cases that could demonstrate alternative modes of green freight transport that could benefit companies. He also stressed that accessibility is an important key issue:

 

"Of course we can say yes to accessibility. But yes to connectivity -then we say yes twice or even three times over. Nodes and hubs that promote connectivity is what we need."

 

An example of what could create connectivity, the panel agreed, was the idea of Dry Ports.

 

Read more about Green STRING Corridor's Platform working with Dry Ports here

 

A final point was the need for a change in mentality, a change for citizens and companies alike. Without a change in both a more cost calculating playing field and a mental playing field it will be hard to make a substantial development of greener transportation. Leif Gjesing was also preoccupied with the impact of new transport structures on a more regional level - or Regional Embeddedness. As Leif Gjesing pointed out:

 

"The preliminary results from the project demonstrate that greener and faster passenger transport by train is feasible and a realistic alternative to current use of cars and aviation between the Öresund Region and Hamburg''. Please click here for further information on this study.

 

''Also the studies of trade and transport flows demonstrate that the STRING Region is not only a "political metaphor", but a true functional trade region, with major economic transactions daily - especially between the major transport nodes".

 

Lastly, Leif Gjesing pointed at the many indications within the projects encounters with private and public stakeholders. There is an urgent need for a cross border perspective in order to fully capitalize the potential gains from the transport corridor via The Fehmarn Link.

 

By Anine Asklund