MEP Ciaran Cuffe discusses challenges of decarbonisation at FTAI Alternative Fuels Working Group

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With Ireland’s logistics businesses committed to a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) welcomed Ciaran Cuffe MEP to its monthly Alternative Fuels Working Group to discuss the Irish Climate Plan and the challenges faced by the sector on the road to Net Zero.

As FTA Ireland’s CEO Aidan Flynn explains, the discussions with Mr Cuffe focused on the challenges faced by logistics businesses to decarbonise, and the support required from government (at an EU and national level) to make the change as swiftly and efficiently as possible:

“Our members were delighted to welcome Mr Cuffe to the meeting, at which the group demonstrated its energy and ambition to engage in the transition to Net Zero. Our Alternative Fuels Working Group has been working hard over the past few years to communicate to, educate and update our member businesses on new technologies available to assist with the transition to decarbonisation, and to demonstrate how willing our industry is to do its part to improve air quality across Ireland.

“However, while there is ambition and commitment across our sector to shift to Zero Emission operations, we discussed with Mr Cuffe that there is still much work to be done, not least in creating the national infrastructure to support the shift as well as the widespread availability of the new technologies required to make the change. We are confident that the government and the EU will provide the support and investment necessary to shift to a Zero Emission future, but this will require hard work and commitment on both sides to ensure that our industry can deliver the necessary reduction in emissions, not least as the volume of freight moved on Ireland’s roads continues to increase, and is set to grow still further.”

Mr Cuffe presented work being done in the EU Transport Committee to support the development of a roadmap for infrastructure development to support the transition to alternative fuels, as well as proposed requirements for recharging infrastructure on the Ten T network. As part of the presentation, member businesses, Virginia Logistics and Gas Networks Ireland demonstrated vehicles that are operating on 100% Biomethane gas – a potential alternative fuel to be considered by the logistics sector.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Cuffe said: “The Alternative Fuels working group at FTA Ireland demonstrates the kind of forward-looking leadership in decarbonisation that we need to see from industry. Their focus on education and regular communications with their members will ensure the industry as a whole is supported and prepared to succeed in this new landscape. As an island, Ireland also faces different challenges compared to our European neighbours, and new infrastructure will be needed to support the changes to come. The European Parliament’s transport committee recognises this, and we are working on relevant legislation such as the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) and the trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) to support this transition.”

Mr Flynn is confident that the haulage and logistics industry will make the necessary changes to help drive Ireland to a Net Zero future: “This meeting was a very positive one, and it was encouraging to discuss the industry’s concerns about Net Zero with the Minister. We look forward to continuing the debate with him, to make the transition to a Zero Emissions future as smooth and easy as possible for Irish business.”

Information on the FTA Ireland alternative fuels working group can be found here: https://www.ftai.ie/alternative-fuels-working-group