On the agenda of the last Transport Council under Czech presidency, were two important items that retained ESPO’s attention, first the discussion on the review of the TEN-T policy, second, the European rail network for competitive freight.
The EU Transport Ministers came to a political agreement on the establishment and organisation of a European rail network for competitive freight. This regulation sets out the rules for the creation and the modification of freight corridors, their organisation and governance. It further foresees measures for implementing freight corridors, investment planning, and capacity and traffic management. This regulation will allow rail operators to offer an efficient, high-quality service and be more competitive on the goods transport market.
The agreement approved by the Council on their meeting of 10 and 11th June gives member states three years, or exceptionally five years, to establish initial freight corridors according to the list of principal routes set out in the draft regulation. From a port’s perspective, the following routes can be identified: Zeebrugge - Antwerp/Rotterdam- -Duisburg-[Basel]-Milan- Genova, Rotterdam-Antwerpen-Luxemburg-Metz-Dijon-Lyon/[Basel], Stockholm-Malmo-Copenhagen-Hamburg-Innsbruck-Verona- Palermo, Almeria-Valencia/Madrid-Zaragoza/Barcelona-Marseille-Lyon, Turin-Udine-Trieste/ Koper-Ljubljana-Budapest-Zahony, Sines-Lisboa/Leixoes -Madrid-San Sebastian-Bordeaux-Paris-Metz Sines-Elvas/Algeciras, Almeria-Valencia/Madrid-Zaragoza/Barcelona-Marseille-Lyon, Turin-Udine-Trieste/ Koper-Ljubljana-Budapest-Zahony (Hungarian-Ukrainian border).
Member states not mentioned in the list will have to participate in the establishment of at least one corridor. Finally, upon request from a member state, member states will have to participate in the establishment of a corridor or prolongation of an existing corridor, in order to allow a neighbouring member state to fulfill the obligation to establish at least one corridor.
Some member states were concerned about the possible negative consequences on normal passenger transport of reserving capacity on the tracks for freight trains. To meet these concerns, the text agreed maintains specific measures regarding capacity allocation and simultaneously ensures that the need for capacity of other types of transport should be recognized.
This political agreement has now to be formalized in a common position. This common position will be one of the first dossiers to be dealt with by the newly elected Parliament in autumn who will be asked to give a second reading opinion on the matter.