File: Greening Freight Package

‘Policymakers are giving up on rail freight goals’

Image: European Rail Freight Association (ERFA)

The EU Council adopted a General Approach on the Capacity Management Regulation of the Greening Freight Package on Tuesday, 18 June. This means that the EU Council presented a new version of the Regulation where several changes were introduced. This step, however, is not enough to meet the goals set out by the European Union and boost rail freight, according to various European associations.

With its General Approach adoption, the EU Council introduced several changes to the version of the Capacity Management Regulation presented by the European Commission. The main changes, according to the Council, aim at granting Member States more flexibility while strengthening cooperation between them and different the role of the European Network of Infrastructure Managers.

However, ERFA, UIP, UIRR, ESC and CLECAT are now pointing out a few issues with the new proposal brought forward by the EU Council. When it comes to the next steps concerning the Capacity Management Regulation, trialogues negotiations involving the EU Council, the EU Parliament and the EU Commission will start in the Fall.

Criticism from industry

The Capacity Management Regulation was initially generally welcomed by the European rail freight industry. However, once it reached the EU Council, concerns started to surface. Now, the associations is pointing out that the Council is proposing to delay the entry into force of the Capacity Management Regulation until at least 2029. This, they argue, would make it impossible to reach the goals set by the EU for rail freight. “This sends a message that policymakers are giving up the agreed 2030 objective”, the association said.

ERFA also shared doubts about the Council’s approach towards temporary capacity restrictions, which does not ensure enough predictability for the rail freight sector. Moreover, the Council’s proposal would make the rules suggested by the European Commission unbinding or open to national derogation. This “will lead to a situation where rail freight continues to operate on various national patchworks”, ERFA stated. Considering that the vast majority of rail intermodal services operate across at least one border, this fragmentation would remain a significant problem.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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