Interview with Onofrio Mendoza and Giampiero Gagliardi from Terminali Italia, Verona Quadrante Europa
- If you are asked to name three characteristics that make Verona Quadrante such an important node for international freight transport, what should they be?
Surely, among the main features of Verona Quadrante Europa, it is worth highlighting its geo-economic position: favourable to the connection between the North-East and the North-West, constituting a real Italian gateway to the North-European market, trough the Brenner towards Germany and Scandinavia. Furthermore, at a national level it represents the most important intermodal terminal as a public freight yard.
We offer technologically advanced facilities with periodic adaptation to new technologies (on average every second year) to guarantee ever-greater optimization in terms of goods handling. That requires huge expenses: just think of the continuous implementations and updates of information management systems (OCR portal, integrated platform of SAP logistics, etc.).
Furthermore, we handle multiple types of goods, most suitable for intermodal transport, for example heavy goods and wastes. The latter representing at least 5 to 10% of our intermodal transport since the end of the 1990.
- What does ScanMed represent for your business now and in the future?
The pilot project started with the ScanMed Corridor on a definition of an integrated capacity offer certainly represents a very important starting point. For the first time we intend to link the railway route from origin to destination. Until today, only the national network segment was taken into consideration. With this project, we try the construction of a comprehensive rail transport service including the last mile. For the future, it will be important to simplify the complete process: replacing all different national actors involved in the construction of a freight train to only one, which is under the coordination of the Corridor.
- If I ask you which are the ScanMed Corridor’s strengths and weaknesses from its implementation to date, what would they be?
If well structured, the ScanMed Corridor would be the right vehicle both for the quantitative and qualitative growth of our business in the future. His point of weakness, to date, lies in the still limited practical realisation of projects. While participating in the pilot project and in the TCRs meetings, we perceived different realities and not only a compact body. Hence our expectation is to move forward realizing a real framework of joint actions, by which we could, overcome all the difficulties.
- From your point of view, therefore, which aspects should be improved or do you suggest?
An important suggestion would be to create a study and a working group on the harmonization of European railway regulations, especially about safety, to harmonize them. The work done, and the targets achieved to ensure interoperability are the first steps in this direction.
- If you have to think about rail transport in ten years, how would you imagine it?
In the last 30 years, the first decade has been a great revolution with a large transfer of transport from road to rail. In the following period, this phenomenon was consolidated. Then, what we now expect from the future is to find the conditions to really shift more freights from road to rail, not only to improve our business, but also for environmental sustainability. The transport buyer should be supported to take the train, and until rail can compete with road, this goal will be far from being reached. We imagine a better coordination and optimization between the capacity of the line, the access facilities and the various train products.
- According to your strategic knowledge, how can we reach the modal shift requested by the EU’s White Paper for the future of Europe? (30% by 2030 and 50% by 2050).
The most important element is a change of mindset that leads to a better use of all products in possession. It would be advisable to involve the entire logistic chain at 360 degrees, for example by harmonizing the rules of road transport with these of the railways. Therefore, it is necessary to emphasise on all actors of the process to bring the market to take advantage of the unused or not requested time slots.