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The Working Party held its 49. session on 17 and 18 March 2008 in Geneva.

This session of the Working Party focussed on logistics and supply chain management which will be of paramount importance for the future competitiveness of the economies in the UNECE region. Modern logistics chains will fundamentally reshape the way how goods are supplied, produced, delivered and returned. They will have an increasing influence on transport demand and on the modal choices made by shippers, freight forwarders, logistics providers and the transport industry.

European Governments need to be aware of these trends and need to understand the functioning and the requirements of modern logistics chains that do not stop at national borders. National transport policies require therefore coordination and harmonization to respond to these challenges and to provide the appropriate framework conditions for the development of efficient logistics chains - also in order to ensure a level playing field for all parties as well as for sustainable, safe and secure transport and mobility.

Intermodal transport will play an important role here and the UNECE Working Party WP.24 has taken the lead to respond to these challenges. It has started to analyse the underlying causes and requirements of logistics determining transport demand, transport quality and land use (location of logistics centres and intermodal terminals). It has started to exchange information on best practices and policy options for Governments and has decided to continue work, in line with its mandate, with particular attention to the requirement for modal choices and intermodal transport services at the pan-European level.

Finally, as stipulated by the UNECE Inland Transport Committee in February 2008, Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian (EECCA) countries are encouraged to actively participate in this work as intermodal transport and logistics are rapidly growing elements of the global supply chains that influence considerably the efficiency and sustainability of transport, not only at the pan-European level, but also in the Eurasian context. This challenges remains to be addressed.

All documents submitted and presentations made during the session of the Working Party are available on this site (click WP.24).

New logistics trends will fundamentally reshape European transport systems (UNECE Weekly - Issue No. 262)