17. June 2016

“Rail freight transport is capable of more”

Environmental study on modal shift / “No taboo on halving track access charges”

Environment Agency researchers see considerable potential for rail freight in Germany. Political action on creating a framework to enable fair competition with HGVs is now needed.

Berlin, June 17, 2016. Two recently published studies from the German Federal Environment Agency UBA on improving the climate impact of freight transport show that rail freight offers considerable untapped potential. “It is now official: rail freight transport can play a key role in helping the transport sector meet its climate targets,” said Dirk Flege, managing director of the German Pro-Rail Alliance, on Friday in Berlin. Whereas certain parties like to point out that the rail network lacks capacity as an argument against modal shift, the UBA’s academics have looked into whether more freight transport can be shifted to the railways and which measures are necessary. “The argument from the HGV lobby, that ‘they would really like to do more, but sorry it’s just not possible’, is now discredited,” said Flege. “Rail freight is capable of more. Freight transport by rail is not the problem, it is the solution.”

“Halving track access charges is no longer a taboo”

The Pro-Rail Alliance praised the UBA’s market-oriented approach. “According to the study, rail freight transport’s market share could increase from the current 17 percent to around 25 percent by 2030,” said Flege. It is remarkable that the researchers have identified politicians as an important success factor for reversing the trend in the transport sector’s CO2 emissions. “Instead of an increase in greenhouse gases the UBA experts are predicting a considerable decrease if politicians finally create fair competitive conditions for rail and road transport,” said Flege. “We need a reduction in the tax on traction current and upgrades to the network for 740 metre freight trains.” In view of the price gap between HGVs and goods trains, a 50 percent cut in track access charges can no longer be a taboo, added the Pro-Rail Alliance managing director.

Additional information (German):

Download – both German Environment Agency: