Market share fall for Spanish rail freight

Rail freight had only a 1.4 per cent market share in the Spanish transport market in 2016, according to the Anti-trust Spanish Authority (CNMC).

The Spanish rail freight industry´s incomes totalled 290 million Euros, way below the from two billion Euros achieved by passenger rail transport. The CNMC highlighted that the rail freight industry transported 27.6 million tonnes in 2016. That is 2.6 million fewer than in 2005, the first year of the liberalisation in the Spanish rail freight market.


The rail freight transport decreased by 9.3 per cent in net tonnes and by 3.3 per cent in tonnes per kilometre compared with 2015. This was due to a fall-off in activity by national operator Renfe Mercancías. Renfe´s competitors increased their activity by 3.3 per cent in net tonnes and by 9.2 per cent in tn/km.

Currently, there are nine private rail freight companies in the Spanish market: Acciona Rail, Comsa, Continental Rail, Ferrovial, Pecovasa, Logitren, Transfesa, Transitia and Medway.


The achieved market share is very far from 30 per cent objective, which the EU has proposed for all its members by 2030. The CNMC criticised these poor results despite the Spanish rail network’s 11,738 km length. It stated: “Its market share is one of the lowest in Europe, similar to little countries such as Luxembourg or islands such as Ireland or Malta.”

The Spanish rail freight industry was strong until the 1970s, with a 15 per cent market share in 1975, according to Renfe.

Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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