The European Intermodal Research Advisory Council (EIRAC), composed of more than 50 key players from large intermodal businesses, was launched at a high-level round table meeting in the Brussels Hotel Metropole, on 3 May 2005.
CEOs and Managing Directors with decision-making capability from all over Europe have created this advisory body to the European Commission. EIRAC has a balance of major stakeholders from all sectors of the intermodal industry: intermodal rail and road operators, terminal operators, logistic freight integrators, short sea shipping operators, ports, terminal handling, freight villages, and ICT equipment suppliers. A few selected academics have also been invited.
EIRAC’s mission is to determine the vision, scope and content of the Strategic Intermodal Research Agenda 2020 for Intermodal Transport as an important step towards the creation of a co-ordinated intermodal research strategy for Europe. EIRAC will focus on achieving interoperability between modes with a view to the creation of a single European logistic system in line with the objectives set out in the White Paper
on Common Transport Policy.
Following on from the strategy EIRAC will also establish a business scenario for implementation.
Mr Wando Boevé, Member of the Board of Directors of ECT (Europe Container Terminals), was appointed as chairman of the EIRAC plenary, and Mr Benoît Passard, Vice President Marketing & Communication of KALMAR Industries, was appointed vice chairman.
The EIRAC initiative is facilitated by a select group of professionals (AMRIE, CONNEKT, CONSORZIO TRAIN, EIA, METTLE). These organisations form CAESAR, a partnership consortium operating under the 6th Framework Programme and funded by the European Commission. Details about the CAESAR partners are included in the press pack.
Mr. Klaus Ebeling, Secretary General of the European Intermodal Association (EIA), one of the partners in the facilitating group CAESAR, explained to the audience during his introduction that the Strategic Research Agenda will be “led and produced by the intermodal industry for the intermodal industry and will be presented in conjunction with a business scenario”.
He said “I believe that the keys for future solutions are innovation and investment, but only via a joint strategy covering all modes in the logistics chain. Current transport is threatened by expensive road-only congestion, congestion of EU ports, increasing costs and the growth of container flows between ports and their hinterlands. Intermodal is the ultimate mode able to cope with the massive transport demand in 2020.”
The first draft of the Strategic Research Agenda will be presented later in 2005. The EIRAC members have made a long-term commitment to developing an integrated intermodal system that is attractive, costeffective, safe, competitive, reliable, environmentally friendly and sustainable.