of monopoly risk

Rail4chem President Matthias Roth warned at EuroRail that the open access freight business was not yet attractive for investors. Claiming that his company had 50% of Germany’s private freight market, with the rest shared by less than a dozen other firms, he said 90% of the rail freight market was in the hands of the ’incumbent socialist’, which was ’very aggressive and fed with taxes and state aid’.

Saying that ’we are forced to go to the market with small margins’, Roth added that it was a high-risk market, but he hoped that the private sector would capture 25% of the business in five to 10 years. He called on industry to use private operators rather than the traditional national railways, and not simply to rely on prices.

It is no secret that Rail4chem has applied to run its own trains in France, and Roth hoped to see a breakthrough there this year. A chink in the French armour that has so far prevented open access operations inched open last month with the granting of a licence toEuroporte 2 (p121). Jean-Marie Bertrand, Director General of Réseau Ferré de France said that he expected to see a number of open access operators running trains in France ’at the end of this year’. International freight trains, he said, enjoyed the number two slot in planning timetable paths.