Themes

What does green mean?
As part of the important process of identifying a transnational definition of a green transport corridor, Green STRING Corridor has commissioned Oxford Research to map, describe and define our Green STRING Corridor. This task has kept analysts Jakob Stoumann and Derek Light busy the last three months.

A final step of the process was a workshop with the projects partners in Malmö in late October. So Jakob Stoumann and Derek Light from Oxford Research joined in on a Partner Meeting to present their study in person and to invite the partners to take part in a workshop to discuss the definition they have reached. The aim of the game was to incorporate the feedback from the partners in to a final definition and help form an overall vision for the Green STRING Corridor. Not a small task!

 

Fehmarn Belt X-factors

Heads were nodding in agreement as the researchers presented the mapping of the STRING corridor made on a basis of desk research. The main two unknown quantities - or X-factors - of the success of the fixed link, in Oxford Research's view were: Firstly, the price of crossing the Fehmarn Belt by tunnel. No one knows how much the price of using the tunnel will be. Secondly, the upcoming EU regulation on sulphur emissions in the Baltic Sea-region. In 2015 the EU Sulphur Directive will take full task leaving ship owners - and ferry companies - no other option than to take measures to reduce emissions. Measures, that are costly to implement. This could very well change the competitiveness of the roll-on-roll-off ferries from Trelleborg and Travemünde.

 

The study also showed an interesting paradox: The capacity of the corridor from Scania and the Capitol Region of Denmark to Northern Germany via Zealand is almost depleted. Even so, the major rail operator, DB Schenker, indicated in the study that their "guestimate" was that up to 80 % of their freight transport would move from Jutland to the Fehmarn Belt corridor when the fixed link is completed.

 

 

Does green equal efficient?

The new information from the researchers' interviews with different relevant actors across Scania, Zealand and Northern Germany, especially on the German side of the corridor, got the discussion rolling. The task of moving from a common concept to a consensus based definition of a green corridor is not a simple one. Oxford Research's chief analyst Jakob Stoumann Jensen stressed the importance of keeping one's feet firmly on the ground:

 

"This corridor is not something we invented. It exists in its own right. Of course, this is a politically based project. But the transport corridor out there already exists and is very much alive and integrated into other European corridors. It's necessary to remember that this is a small piece in a larger puzzle".

 

The project partners were reminded that the logistics and transportation businesses are indeed businesses with a focus on company turnover. This is particularly important regarding the fixed link across the Fehmarn Belt where the environmental issues seem more "bottom-up" and less policy driven than in Scandinavia

 

As Rüdiger Schacht, Industrie und Handelskammer (IHK) - Schleswig-Holstein is quoted in the study:

"Efficiency is green. Efficiency is good for business. No one is against efficient transport. No one is against sustainability…if it lowers prices."

 

Sorin Sima, Trafikverket (Swedish Transport Administration) stated:

"There is an interest for green transports in the commercial sector, but it is not secondary to profitability. Green modes of transportation must have competitive prices. If the conditions are favourable commercial actors will choose green transports."

 

The study showed a difference in mentalities when it comes to agreeing on what exactly a green corridor is. Generally, there is broad agreement that green corridors are transport corridors with increased capacity and efficiency with multimodal transport solutions. There is less agreement on how to actually define and measure how and when a corridor is green. And whether green corridors should include development of green fuels and alternative technologies for road based transport, and not only concentrate on rail and sea based transport solutions.

 

Oxford Research took the valuable input from the project partners back home and they have now finalized their final report that defines 7 elements for envisioning a greener transport corridor between Öresund and Hamburg.

 

Green STRING Corridor's vision:

1. sustainable logistics solutions with documented reductions and continuous improvements in terms of environmental and climate impact, high safety, high quality and strong resource efficiency that exploits synergies between sustainability and competitiveness

 

2. integrated logistics concepts with optimal utilisation and improvement of all transport modes,emphasising co-modality, with supporting infrastructure to encourage alternative fuels and choice in means of transport.

 

3. harmonised regulations with openness for all actors to a network of transport corridors

 

4. a concentration of national and international freight traffic on relatively long transport routes

 

5. efficient and strategically placed trans-shipment points, as well as an adapted, supportive infrastructure and full integration with other local transport systems and international corridors.

 

6. a platform for development and demonstration of innovative logistics solutions, including information systems, collaborative models, and technology.

 

7. sensitivity to local economic and environmental needs for regions, communities, and municipalities within the region of the corridor.

 

 

The 7 elements will serve as a guideline for forthcoming analysis and activities in the Green STRING Corridor project. These activities will give concrete and practical examples on greener transport and logistics solutions within the STRING Region.

 

By Anine Asklund