Dutch rail freight operators consent with reduction of track access charges
RailGood, the branch organisation of the private rail freight carriers and operators in the Netherlands, has positively appreciated the government plans to reduce track access charges. The association considers that this measure will stimulate ‘a modal shift from the congested road network to the clean and safe railways’.
The position paper of RailGood coincided with certain initiatives of the Dutch government. On 19 July, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management sent to the Dutch Parliament a letter with a package of proposals vital for the country’s rail freight sector. The official noticed three important steps to be approved by the legislature:
- reduction of the infra charges to the German level;
- financial support of 70 million Euros over five years (2019-2023) with an interim evaluation in 2021;
- a relatively higher subsidy rate for the train weight categories that the rail infrastructure manager ProRail uses in its infra charges.
According to the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, these measures will cause the increase of freight volumes on the Dutch railway network from 41.5 million tonnes in 2018 up to 54-61 million tonnes in 2030.
In July the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management will publish the temporary subsidy scheme. It will take effect retroactively, from 1 January 2019. “The Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, in accordance with a long-standing Dutch government tradition, sets conditions on top of the European frameworks for the implementation of the subsidy scheme,” the branch association noted in the position paper. With the subsidy scheme, the Dutch rail freight operators will receive an additional option to improve the service by reducing their costs. “RailGood is therefore content,” the organisation stated.