9 October 2014

Author: Mrs. Mioara BOURCEANU, Chairperson of the Board, Grup Feroviar Roman – company of Grampet Group

Mioara-BourceanuIt has been about three years since the European Commission’s White Paper on Transport “Roadmap to a single European transport area – Towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system”. Some things have moved forward with ease, some have slightly nudged and some still need our undivided attention.

In one of the early paragraphs, the above-mentioned document made a very clear warning with just one phrase: Still, the transport system is not sustainable. Looking 40 years ahead, it is clear that transport cannot develop along the same path.

Oil dependence, CO2 emissions, congestion costs, and accessibility gap, social costs of accidents and noise, and an ever growing need for more competitiveness and for more growth are all not just key benchmarks, but are the questions which need answering if we all want a better Europe.

There is a clear need and also a clear intent that if we want to make Europe sustainable, then we need to start making transportation sustainable, because almost every economical equation comes down to competitive costs and a key component of cost is transport. The White Paper states is just as clear: …the consolidation of large volumes for transfers over long distances. This implies greater use of buses and coaches, rail and air transport for passengers and for freight, multimodal solutions relying on waterborne and rail modes for long hauls.

The solution for this consolidation process is rail. Passenger and freight transportation through rail networks makes this the most competitive option, offering not only sound costs, but also permits starting economic processes that engage the horizontal of the economy, thus creating jobs, prosperity and a growth spurt that can prove crucial to our present and future. It’s not just about jobs in developing infrastructure, although a high-speed European rail network and a dense rail railway network in all member states are key requirements.

In the roadmap proposed by the European Commission the goal bar is set pretty high: Thirty per cent of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50 % by 2050, facilitated by efficient and green freight corridors. (…) By 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger transport should go by rail.

The rail industry and rail transport is the Cinderella that makes this goal attainable. And in further detail, it is rail transport companies that can make this objective become reality.

We, at Grampet Group, have always believed that in the XXI century, success will belong to those who have the ability to anticipate trends and have the strength to keep up with the increasingly accelerated pace of a world in constant motion. Distances are getting smaller, time is getting shorter and goods move faster and farther. It is no longer enough just to have vision; you should also have the strength to implement this vision.

Our company, with its headquarters in Romania, succeeded in record time to expand in several countries: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. The flagship company of Grampet Group is Grup Feroviar Roman (GFR). Founded in 2001, GFR is the largest private rail freight operator in the region conducting transports of approximately 1 million tones / month.

As in Cinderella’s story, rail only needs a solid chance to prove itself. The last couple of years have given signs that this chance is starting to show itself. But there is still work to be done: we need European investments and national investments, we need to help national or European industry captains to develop rolling stock at competitive prices and with competitive outcomes, and we need a clear plan to turn these investments into jobs, because we already know how to transform a bulging transportation sector into growth.

Finally, we need to join forces to develop European transportation and to cooperate rather than just compete, because a win-win situation is better compared to any other alternative. We need, in short, to get moving.