Track access charges in the Netherlands rise again in 2024
The track access charges in the Netherlands will increase by 10.5 per cent next year. This was announced by infrastructure manager ProRail on Monday 15 May. The increase is result of inflation, it explains.
This indexation is calculated on the basis of the inflation of the past two years, the current year and the following year. Based on this, the track access charges should be increased by 14 per cent, ProRail says. “However, to accommodate carriers and shippers, it has been decided to set the expected inflation for 2024 at 0 per cent for the time being.”
Rail freight industry not amused
The increase was not received as a favour to the industry. RailGood, an industry group representing Dutch rail freight railway undertakings referred to the increase as a ’grab inflation’. “For 2023, ProRail increased its rates by 12 per cent last year, while the German federal rail infra manager only increased the rates by 2.3 per cent”, noted RailGood director Hans-Willem Vroon.
“In addition to this high inflation, ProRail charges for the parking and shunting of freight trains and wagons will rise sharply again in 2024. This is because after the sixfold increase of these infra charges for rail freight transport in the Netherlands since 1 January 2023, the subsidy on this excessive increase of this infra charge will decrease by 56.25 per cent compared to 2023.”
Different charging methods
The discrepancy between track access charging in the Netherlands and Germany has been a point of frustration for rail freight professionals for many years. Track access charges partly define the competitiveness of a railway network. When prices are lower on the other side of the border, the choice for a German port and hinterland are made easily, is the argument.
EU policy regarding the levying of track access charges allows each member state to develop its own charging structure, which creates space for the large differences. A different approach is needed as the maintenance of a network has different requirements in each country. This being said, track access charges is often a matter of policy too.