Weak Economy and Green Freight Transport: Council of Economic Experts Presents New Report

Der Sachverständigenrat bestehend aus 5 Personen präsentiert das Jahresgutachten 2023/24.
Prof. Dr. Veronika Grimm; Prof. Dr. Achim Truger; Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Monika Schnitzer, Vorsitzende; Prof. Dr. Martin Werding, Prof. Dr. mult. Dr. h.c. Ulrike Malmendier. Bildrechte: Sachverständigenrat Wirtschaft

Despite a stabilizing economy, Germany’s economic growth will be modest this year. This conclusion originates from the Council of Economic Experts in their spring report presented today. Along with the economic forecast, the experts, led by Prof. Dr. Veronika Grimm from the University of Technology Nuremberg, provide an in-depth analysis of decarbonizing freight transport.

WIESBADEN. With the 2024 Spring Report, the Council of Economic Experts is adopting a new publication schedule. In addition to the annual report in November, there will now be a report in May, which will include an economic forecast and additional chapters on economic policy topics. The first 2024 Spring Report includes an economic forecast for 2024 and 2025 and a chapter titled “Freight Transport: Balancing Infrastructure Requirements and Decarbonization.”

Significant Economic Recovery Still Elusive

The German economy is currently characterized by weak overall demand. “Household consumption remains cautious, and the industrial and construction sectors are seeing only minimal new orders,” explains UTN Professor Veronika Grimm, a member of the Council of Economic Experts. “However, we expect the German economy to gain some momentum over the course of 2024.” Private consumption is anticipated to support the economy as real incomes are expected to rise significantly. Overall, the Council forecasts GDP growth of just 0.2 percent for this year. Next year, the German economy is expected to grow by 0.9 percent.

Climate-Neutral Freight Transport: Batteries – and also Hydrogen?

To accelerate the decarbonization of freight transport, the development of a charging infrastructure for battery-electric trucks should be expedited. The Council members have differing views on the establishment of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Given limited public funds and planning capacities, the majority of the Council believes that priority should be given to building a comprehensive charging infrastructure for battery-electric trucks.
Contrarily, Prof. Dr. Veronika Grimm from the University of Technology Nuremberg argues for adhering to the current EU guidelines, which open multiple technological paths for heavy-duty transport: “The EU’s AFIR regulation aims to expand both the charging infrastructure for battery-electric trucks and the hydrogen refueling infrastructure by 2030. Major European truck manufacturers and their suppliers are aligning their business models accordingly,” emphasizes Council member Grimm. “If we don’t deploy a variety of climate-neutral drivetrains in heavy-duty transport, we will fail to meet our ambitious climate targets and miss out on industrial policy opportunities. European firms have a chance to lead in technology and market, especially in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen commercial vehicles.”

Complete press releases on both chapters, as well as the Spring Report, can be found on the Council of Economic Experts’ website.

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About the University of Technology Nuremberg

The University of Technology Nuremberg was founded on January 1, 2021 and has been the first new foundation of a state-run university in Bavaria since 1978. With its consistently interdisciplinary approach, an innovative spectrum of subjects, new teaching methods and a future-oriented organizational structure, a model university will be created when it comes to teaching and research. The university is to have an international, interdisciplinary and digital approach. Upon completion, up to 6,000 students will be able to study on a campus embedded in the surrounding quarters.