21 September 2015

Customers call for capacity allocation for freight on EU Rail Freight Corridors

A competitive rail freight sector that is able to efficiently respond to Europe’s economic and environmental challenges is urgently needed. For this reason, the proper functioning of the Rail Freight Corridors is essential, striking the right balance between freight and passenger traffic along the Rail Freight Corridors. Freight should receive adequate capacity and priority, in line with market needs, and common punctuality targets for freight trains must be met.

CLECAT, the European Association of logistics service providers and freight forwarders, and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC), representing cargo owners, have in a letter to the Commission expressed concern about the position of international freight along the corridors and the potential lack of capacity for international freight trains.

The associations strongly believe that Member States should give priority to international freight trains in order to ensure the proper functioning of rail freight corridors and to increase the market share for international rail freight. Nik Delmeire, Secretary General of ESC noted: ‘At present, there is a tendency to only reserve capacity for national/passenger traffic which is worrying our shipper members who need sufficient capacity.’ ESC and CLECAT believe that one way forward could be to set a minimum capacity level for pre-arranged paths, before reserving capacity for framework agreements in corridors, in order to free up capacity for international trains in the corridor.

Nicolette van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT said, ‘We urge the Commission to follow the situation for international freight trains within the corridors, both regarding to pre-arranged paths and ad-hoc requests, in order to make sure the corridors are functioning as intended.’ In case of failure, the associations call for a recast of the regulation concerning freight corridors (913/2010) with the aim of strengthening the role of the international freight corridors as they remain important for the growth and customer-orientated rail system in Europe.

CLECAT, Nicolette van der Jagt, Director-General, European Freight Forwarders’ Organisation (CLECAT), nicolettevdjagt@clecat.org
European Shippers’ Council (ESC), Laurent d’Hont, Policy Manager, European Shippers Council, l.dhont@europeanshippers.be