THE CEO of Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) subsidiary Rail Cargo Group (RCG), Mr Clemens Först, has handed over the chair of the Rail Freight Forward (RFF) initiative to the CEO of DB Cargo, Ms Sigrid Nikutta, after five years in the post.

Först was the founding chair in 2018 of the RFF initiative, an alliance of European freight operators that aims to drastically reduce the negative impact of freight transport on the environment through innovation and a smarter transport mix.

RFF aims to actively work towards increasing rail’s share of the freight market to 30% by 2030, and says that it should be as easy to drive a train across Europe as it is to drive a truck, and that rail transport should not be financially disadvantaged in the process.

“Transport is a significant component of the climate problem, and rail is a fundamental part of the solution,” Först says. “That is why we are not only pushing innovation in rail freight, but also fighting for fair competitive conditions compared with road and greater capacity on the rail network.”

Först handed over the chairmanship at the Transport Logistics trade fair in Munich by symbolically passing a model container to Nikutta.

“If we are able to transport more goods by rail, we will also succeed in achieving the European Union's climate targets,” Nikutta says. “It is feasible to achieve a 30% market share for rail in the continental transport mix - with digitalisation and automation.”

“No company can do this on its own,” she says, “we need each other. We need Brussels, we need the European Commission. All these things can only be implemented at European level.”