PKP operated locomotive. Photo: Pixabay

ERFA: State Aid Guidelines are outdated

PKP operated locomotive. Photo: Pixabay

The European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) wants the State Aid Guidelines for Railway Undertakings revised. The set of standards must be modernised, to take into consideration developments in the rail freight sector over the past eleven years, the industry group says. It is calling upon the incoming European Commission to accomplish this.

This new set of standards should, among others, clarify when funding for freight rolling stock is permitted.
The rules for restructuring a freight division should be modernised and public funding should play a greater role in ERTMS and noise reduction measures.

Market change

The reasoning behind the plea is that the current State Aid Guidelines were not revised with the State
Aid Modernisation Package of 2012, although this could have been a suitable moment for adaptation. Since 2008, the rail freight market has changed, and the rules should have developed along with these changes, ERFA believes.

“Since 2008, all rail freight divisions and operators have had the opportunity to return to long-term viability. ERFA therefore sees a need to reassess the status for restructuring of a rail freight division. The Guidelines need to take into consideration how the rail freight sector has evolved since 2008.”

Out of time

“It is important for the continued development of the European rail freight market that we have clear and modernised State Aid Guidelines for Railway Undertakings. The rail freight sector has a crucial role to play in the decarbonisation of the transport sector and the revised Guidelines need to focus on how the rail freight industry as a whole can be assisted in contributing towards this goal”, say ERFA President Dirk Stahl.

“The existing Guidelines were creating in a very specific moment in time with a specific context, as clearly stated in the Guidelines themselves, and it must be accepted that this moment in time has now passed. It is therefore essential that a revision of the Guidelines takes place in order to have a framework that meets the needs of the European rail freight sector as a whole”, added ERFA Secretary General, Conor Feighan.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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