Dutch railway companies get 25% of siding and shunting costs back 12/12/22

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Source: https://www.railfreight.com/railfreight/2022/12/12/dutch-railway-companies-get-25-of-siding-and-shunting-costs-back/


The European Commission approved a 28-million euro support scheme in the Netherlands to encourage freight transport to shift from road to rail. This will, among others, support rail freight companies to pay for the significantly higher track access charges next year.


Under the scheme, which will run until 1 January 2026, the aid will take the form of direct grants to railway operators. Railway operators will be compensated for 25 per cent of the siding and shunting costs incurred in their freight operations.

Cost increase of 70%

As of 1 January 2023, the Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail will apply a new methodology for calculating rail infrastructure charges. This will result in lower charges for the use of rail, but higher charges for the use sidings. According to RailGood, which represents Dutch railway undertakings, this means a higher average cost in the end.

Without the subsidies, RailGood director Hans-Willem Vroon explains, this would have meant an increase of cost of 130 per cent. But now that the subsidies have been approved, the increase is still significant: 70 per cent if you include the costs for shunting and parking a train. Vroon comments that instead of a subsidy scheme, which is not more than a way of reallocating tax money, Dutch rail companies would rather return to paying the direct costs of using rail and sidings.

EU state aid rules

The scheme has been approved under the EU state aid rules, which means that member states are permitted to provide support to the private sector to overcome difficult times. The Commission found that the measure is necessary and proportionate to promote the use of rail transport, which is less polluting than road transport and contributes to reducing road congestion.

The aim of the measure is to ensure that rail operators remain competitive vis-a-vis road haulage and thus contribute to the modal shift from road to rail.


Author: Majorie van Leijen