International freight transport corridors are a must for the efficiency of this market segment

Since 2007, the liberalisation year of the rail freight transport, we can say that we have witnessed a permanent improvement of the services provided to customers by rail operators. The customers’ information and the commercial receptivity of railway freight operators have constantly improved during the past years. However, taking into account the negative period that  rail freight transport is still crossing, it is necessary to increase the support it receives from member states in the next three to four years. The support they can provide consists in rapidly establishing freight-dedicated corridors, excepting, of course, the six ERTMS corridors.

Under the circumstances, developing international rail corridors for a European rail network fostering a competitive freight transport, where trains could travel in the best possible conditions and shift easily from one national network to another, would permit improving infrastructure access conditions.
“The Regulation on a European rail network for competitive freight will substantially improve cooperation among infrastructure managers and between infrastructure managers and other stakeholders along rail freight corridors. Common objectives will be defined for these corridors, helping all actors to work towards a common goal. An Implementation Plan will form the basis for the establishment of the corridors within three or five years after the entry into force of the Regulation.  A regular update of this plan will ensure the continuous development and
improvement of the corridors based on actual market needs”, explained Keir Fitch, responsible for railway transport at DG MOVE.
This clearly stresses that the Regulation is aimed at reinforcing the role of rail transport on the freight transport market. Moreover, the Plan will also enable coordinating investments so as to ensure a coherent approach of increasing the capacity of rail infrastructure along corridors.
“An important aspect of the Regulation is the cooperation between management of terminals and that of the rail network, both in terms of traffic management and infrastructure development. Railway operators, other than railway undertakings will be able to demand the allocation of the rail
capacity on these new corridors”, Keir Fitch, DG MOVE.
The European rail freight transport receives a new stimulus due to the latest norms of the European Union aimed at promoting the development of a high-quality management of the rail infrastructure at international level.
“In my opinion, in 2050, the railways will be predominantly used for freight transport over distances longer than 300 km. These freight corridors, single ticket offices and increased cooperation stipulated under the new legislation will allow rail freight transport suppliers to attract additional customers towards this eco-friendly mode of transport”, said Siim Kallas, European Commissioner in charge of transport.
The Community of European Rail and Infrastructure Companies (CER) believes that railway undertakings should be involved in governing these freight corridors, because they are market-driven and likely to carry out or be affected by decisions taken.

[ by Elena Ilie ]
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