Volume 3, Issue 2 April 2018
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The new Silk Route - opportunities and challenges for EU transport

by Ivan Marc / Shutterstock

The Chinese Silk Route Initiative is an ambitious plan, announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in late 2013 to revive ancient trade routes that connected China to Europe through South-East Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The Initiative, often referred to as “One Belt, One Road”, or “Belt and Road Initiative” aims not only at building land-based transport connections between Asia and Europe, but also at creating an economic belt for fostered Eurasian cooperation.

The new Silk Route will undoubtedly bring with it impacts and prospects for the EU transport system. There will be a need for implementation of additional measures at EU level in other to make the most of the Initiative and also to ensure fair competition in the transport, logistic and construction sectors in the context of expanding activity by Chinese operators.

At the request of the TRAN Committee, the Policy Department commissioned a study (published in January 2018 and presented in March 2018) to investigate the European transport system’s readiness for the Initiative and to identify potential bottlenecks and missing links. Furthermore, the study presents a comprehensive list of all Member States involved in the new Silk Route.

Other studies recently published (since the beginning of 2018) by the Policy Department as part of the research programme for the TRAN Committee are listed below.

Policy Department TRAN team

Recent research for the TRAN Committee:

Road enforcement databases: economic feasibility and costs (April 2018)

Road enforcement databases: economic feasibility and costs

By Milos Muller / Shutterstock

This in-depth analysis investigates the economic feasibility and cost of creating national road enforcement databases following the introduction of new smart tachographs (so-called “Generation 2” digital tachographs) into the EU road haulage market. Two scenarios are considered: the first includes building new databases capable of handling new smart tachograph data, and the second mainly relies on upgrading existing databases for this new usage (such as Tachonet, the European Register of Road Transport Undertakings (ERRU), or the Vehicle Information Platform (VIP) based on EUCARIS).

 Two options are also analysed: the first includes retrofitting the whole fleet of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and buses from year 1, and the second is based on a more gradual introduction of new smart tachographs, only for new vehicles.EU has been giving increasing attention to automated and connected vehicles as they could have huge impacts on road safety, travel behaviour and urban development.

European Tourism Labelling (March 2018)

This study focusses on the current situation in the European Union regarding quality and sustainability labelling in tourism. There is concern that the existing volume and variety of labels has become a barrier to consumer choice, which in consequence may lead to lost opportunities to increase the competitiveness of the European tourism industry. The study analyses the possibility of the introduction of an EU standard(s) for tourism services through the initiation of a harmonised EU certification system and the potential for the establishment of a single European tourism label.

The study will be presented in the TRAN Committee on the 9th of July (more details to follow).

Battery-powered electric vehicles: market development and lifecycle emissions (February 2018)

TRAN Study presentation : Resources, energy and lifecycle greenhouse gas emission aspects of electric vehiclesAs 2018 gets under way, there are probably more than three million electric cars in circulation in the world. There are also more than six hundred million electric bikes, scooters and motorcycles. Plus a few hundred thousand electric buses and other types of quadricycles having an electric motor.

The first part of this paper traces the fast evolving market of electric road vehicles. The second part shows that the production of hundreds of millions of battery packs requires a lot of energy and plenty of scarce resources, which affects the real impact of electric vehicles on the climate and the environment and make it necessary to consider the recovery and recycling of used batteries.

The study will be presented in the TRAN Committee on the 15th of May: more details can be found here.


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