27-06-2015 - Trans-European Transport Network days in Riga


On 22-23 June 2015 Transport Ministers from 12 European Member States, CEOs and over 1000 transport stakeholders joined the high-level transport conference "TEN-T Days" in Riga, organised by the European Commission, in cooperation with the Latvian Presidency.

The trans-European networks (TEN-T), which are at the core of the Union's infrastructure policy, aim to close the gaps between Member States' transport networks, to remove bottlenecks and to overcome technical barriers. This edition of the TEN-T Days focuses on the challenges faced by the new trans-European networks (TEN-T) in attracting innovative funding solutions. This important topic was already displayed in Riga COTER event month ago – about which there was release on our web page (the presentation of Helmut Morsi, Advisor “Innovation & eGovernance” European Commission, DG MOVE Directorate B – European Mobility Network - see here).

Also one of the Conference thematic workshops- “Hydrogen & Fuel cells from research to market roll-outs” – covered the topics on the possible funding options for such introduction of carbon-free public transport projects - replacement of fossil fuels with hydrogen and fuel cells in the cities public transport.

During the workshop, two major declarations took place. The first one was from the side of innovative first buyers: representatives of 5 national clusters (Germany, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, and UK) have endorsed the major commitment of about 30 cities to operate together several hundred hydrogen electric busses. Between these 30 cities was also the Conference event hosting city Riga, which Mayor endorsed the declaration.

The decision on phasing in hydrogen driven vehicles in the city to gradually replace the traditional busses with hydrogen driven transport was developed in the framework of the "Riga smart city Sustainable Energy Action Plan 2014-2020" which was adopted by Riga City Council in July, 2014.

The second declaration came from the innovative producers and highlighted the commitment of industrial players towards commercialisation of fuel cell electric vehicles, underlining the technology readiness, and also for the long distance along the TEN-T Corridors and Network.

Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said: I am counting on all actors – national and regional, public and private, to make the best use of our instruments such as Connecting Europe Facility and the new European Fund for Strategic Investments.

Amongst the many results of the TEN-T Days is the signature by the Ministers of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland of a declaration on the implementation of the Rail Baltica project, which is to become the backbone of the North Sea Baltic Core Network Corridor.

The TEN-T Days Exhibition featured an indoor showcase of over 40 different TEN-T projects and initiatives, all helping to improve European transport infrastructure. Between these projects was also the important “HIT-2-Corridors” project for development of hydrogen infrastructure in Riga.

An overall aim of the HIT-2-Corridors project is the harmonised deployment of Hydrogen Infrastructure for Transport (HIT) along two TEN-T Core Network Corridors (Scandinavian-Mediterranean and North Sea-Baltic). It builds upon the results of the previous TEN-T project HIT which ended in December 2014. New infrastructure investments and plans are located along the two Corridors to ensure long distance travel for fuel cell electric vehicles. Studies and plans will be drafted to provide a basis for the preparation of new political propositions for implementation of hydrogen infrastructure deployment and fuel cell electric vehicle roll-out in Finland (study by Woikoski), Poland (study by the Motor Transport Institute), Belgium (study by VZW Waterston Net), Riga (study by Riga City Council), Sweden (the existing national study will be complemented with focused regional studies for hydrogen for transport by Hydrogen Sweden).

The Riga TEN-T Days outdoor Exhibition highlights different innovative technologies for the road sector, such as electromobility, fuel cells/hydrogen and natural gas. Located just outside the Radisson Latvija Hotel in the beautiful green surroundings of the Esplanade park, the outdoor Exhibition of spotlighted a range of innovative vehicles, from passenger cars and light commercial vans to heavy vehicles such as a CNG mobile refuelling truck and hydrogen bus/truck.

The next TEN-T days will held in Rotterdam next year.

European Commission press release