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[EU] ‘International capacity management now or forget about green targets’

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  • [EU] ‘International capacity management now or forget about green targets’

    ‘International capacity management now or forget about green targets’

    The European Rail Freight Association sent a clear message to the EU Commission regarding the boost of cross-border rail. The association underlined that the Commission’s public consultation aiming to coordinate international rail traffic should be followed by relevant legislation. Without that, the Sustainable and Smart Mobility targets will not be met on time.

    The Commission just concluded a round of public consultations that lasted almost two and a half months and focused on developing and implementing measures to facilitate international rail traffic and its management. ERFA welcomed the initiative and its results, yet it stressed that if the consultation is not followed up by a legislative approach along the lines of the Timetabling and Capacity Redesign project, rail freight will not be able to meet its growth and environmental targets.

    The Timetabling and Capacity Redesign (TTR) project launched by RailNetEurope and Forum Train Europe under ERFA’s guidance studies the timetabling procedures between European countries, aiming to improve processes and reach harmonisation at an international level.

    “ERFA welcomes that the European Commission has launched a consultation on this important issue. Rail freight needs legal clarity on how capacity is managed, its rights in booking capacity and the introduction of redress for lost capacity and operations on the network. Given that rail freight is primarily international, a European approach is critical to avoid a patchwork of different national initiatives,” said Connor Feighan, ERFA’s secretary general.

    Work as one and simplify processes
    “The current situation of high disturbances and poor coordination of capacity in the European network clearly shows how the framework for managing capacity and infrastructure works today is not meeting the needs of cross-border traffic. Given that over 50 per cent of rail freight crosses at least one border, this is of paramount importance. If we are serious about modal shift objectives, we have to stabilise the situation in the short term whilst also developing a stronger system for the future,” commented ERFA’s president, Dirk Stahl.

    “Today, capacity is managed and allocated with complicated instruments and mainly with a national focus, given that most passenger traffic is domestic. Given rail freight’s strong international profile, international capacity management must be predominant in capacity planning for the sector to grow. In this sense, booking international capacity needs to be simplified. It must be possible for railway undertakings to carry out rolling planning for international traffic with one contact point, namely their national infrastructure manager. However, this will not be enough if countries do not prepare for such a transition and if the policy is not binding, especially when compensating for capacity disturbances,” concluded ERFA.

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