Lack of liberalisation will cost new entrants millions

Lack of liberalisation will cost new entrants millions

“The revised network usage conditions of Italian infrastructure manager RFI [Rete Ferroviaria Italiana] will require rescue locomotives and wagons, double insurance cover, higher shunting fees [and more], entailing additional investments by the rail freight industry,” the ERFA Board said in a statement this week.

The Board added that these costs would further reduce the competitiveness

of rail freight because of what it calls “the re-monopolisation process” .

ERFA believes that given the situation in several EU countries, the Recast of the first Railway Package for the liberalisation of the rail freight market in the EU must be strengthened substantially to prevent discriminatory measures such as those in Italy.

“The obstacles are legal, technical, financial and operational. If the Recast does not

dismantle these obstacles, private investments by rail freight operators, terminals, ports, leasing companies and wagon keepers will disappear”, the Board said.

ERFA is to ask the EU institutions to incorporate another legal initiative into the Recast to entitle rail freight operators to receive financial compensation in case they do not get the slots or services they paid for from the infrastructure manager, especially during strikes.

“If railway undertakings suffer financial losses because of infrastructure managers, the latter must reimburse them”, said the Board, adding that this must be enshrined in the Recast as part of the extended powers of the rail regulators. This would also avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings.

The Association warns that further substantial problems include delays with safety certification and lack of recognition by the ‘Entity in Charge of Maintenance’ (ECM).

It believes that the market will suffer enormous damage if railway undertakings are prevented from operating as of January1, 2011 due to not having a valid safety certificate or if national safety authorities do not recognise ECMs.

ERFA is to call on the European Parliament to appropriately strengthen the Recast of the first Railway Package, to ensure that safety certificates are not delayed and ECMs are recognised.