EUROPE: The European Rail Freight Association has welcomed reductions in track access charges in Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and called for further waiving or reductions of charges in other EU member states.
ERFA said it was ‘of utmost importance that ambitious measures are taken to grow the sector whilst also supporting private and independent operators’ if Europe is to meet its objective of a 50% growth in rail freight by 2030 and a doubling by 2050, and reducing track access charges ’remains the best way to assist the sector in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner’.
ERFA Secretary Conor Feighan said the European Commission had allowed EU member states to waive and reduce track access charges up until the end of June, and ‘if required, the Commission remains empowered to extend this provision up until April 14 2022. It is essential that this opportunity is acted upon through concrete measures.’
Many countries had not taken any measures so far, and there were ‘some bad examples’ such as a proposed increase in track access charges in Poland from next year.
ERFA President Dirk Stahl said ’we strongly welcome the measures that have been taken to date to support the rail freight industry through the waiving of track access charges. We now must not lose sight of the long-term objective of supporting and building back from the Covid-19 pandemic with a competitive rail freight industry which can meet the objectives set out in the European Commission’s Sustainable & Smart Mobility Strategy.’