Sustainable Freight Transport on EU’s agenda

Sustainable Freight Transport on EU’s agenda

In a collaborative effort to guide European freight transport towards sustainability, the Flemish Government, through its EU team within the Departement Mobiliteit en Openbare Werken, took a leading role within the context of the Belgian EU presidency. On 23-24 April 2024, Antwerp, Belgium, hosted the Senior Policy Meeting on Sustainable Freight Transport, highlighting crucial policy initiatives and fostering collaborative pathways for implementation.


This two-day conference brought together stakeholders from 15 European Member States alongside representatives from the European Commission (DG MOVE and DG CLIMA), Transport & Environment (T&E), and ALICE (Alliance for Logistics Innovation through Collaboration in Europe), among others. Co-hosted by Cathy Macharis, and supported by VIL Flanders Innovation Cluster for Logistics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, the event explored a holistic approach to sustainability in logistics. Discussions centred on integrated policy strategies, building upon ongoing initiatives such as Fit for 55, and addressing challenges while exploring collective routes towards sustainable freight transport in Europe.


A highlight of the conference was an onsite visit to the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, the lighthouse port of PIONEERS. Pieter Vandermeeren (PoAB) presented the port’s progress towards sustainability, showcasing how onshore power will be developed in the port, how the PIONEERS Ports project is establishing a transition arena, and how rail and barge connections are central to the modal shift policy, contributing to the discussion on the greening of transport, the central theme of the 2-days gathering.


Key Takeaways:

  • Urgency of Action: Every ton of CO2 saved this year compounds into significant reductions over the next decade, urging immediate action.
  • Policy Landscape: The Green Deal, FIT55, and other initiatives have set the stage with over 20 policy updates impacting freight and logistics, signaling the need for focused implementation and investment to achieve these targets, as the policy framework is already set.
  • Technology and Innovation: While technology evolves, emphasis is on practical application, business model innovation, and stakeholder adaptation, spotlighting EU programs as catalysts for adoption and harmonization.


The Flemish government is putting decarbonization at the forefront of the European agenda and insights from the conference will shape a strategic compass to inspire the new European Commission, driving forward sustainable solutions for freight transport across the continent.


Photos available here.


April 26, 2024