SSG Follow-up - Rail Freight Corridors 23/09/20

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Boosting European rail freight is not only an essential step towards transport decarbonisation and meeting European climate targets, but strengthening freight’s  resilience in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. The European Green Deal provides an opportunity for rail freight to unveil its full potential to deliver towards a low-carbon economy and help the EU reach its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

Over the last decade, rail freight has been characterised by a challenging market environment and heterogenous national developments, resulting in different evolutions and market shares for rail freight. EU28 rail volumes expressed in tonne-kilometres grew by 7% between 1995 and 2016. However, during the same period, the EU28 rail freight modal share declined from 20.2% to 16.4%1. While some improvements and increases of rail freight modal share were noted in several individual countries, more efforts are needed on the EU level to boost international rail freight traffic and to increase the modal share of rail freight to 30% by 2030.

Following the ‘Rotterdam Declaration’, the sector identified ten priorities, which were presented during the Rail Freight Day in December 2016 under the Netherlands’s Council Presidency. The sector stakeholders decided to work together on the priorities in an integrated way, and in July 2017, they set-up the Sector Statement Group as an information sharing platform. Rapporteurs were appointed for each of the identified priorities.

The Sector Statement Group strongly welcomes the Ministerial “Rail Freight Corridors: The Future of Rail Freight in Europe” Declaration (Berlin Declaration) of 21st September 2020 which takes place as the European Commission looks to revise the Rail Freight Corridors Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 913/2010). The Berlin Declaration showcases the necessary clear commitment of the Member States to support international rail freight and the Rail Freight Corridors and it rightly recognises the environmental advantage of rail freight in view of the European Green Deal. We welcome the clear commitment of the Member States to agree on a migration strategy for Digital Automatic Coupling. We also want to underline the importance of further digitalisation of infrastructure networks, capacity management and allocation as mentioned in the introduction of the Declaration.

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SSG Follow-up - Rail Freight Corridors EN