The above signed associations welcome the agreement of 18 March between EU Transport Ministers and the European Commission to work closely to minimise traffic disruptions, especially for essential freight. For rail freight to be able to play a leading role in freight flows, the associations believe further measures need to be taken, both by the European Commission and national authorities.
Firstly, the above signed associations believe the agreement between the EU Transport Ministers and the European Commission is a positive progression from the Commission Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services published on 16 March. For rail freight to be efficient, coordination of national responses is essential. The commitment of Transport Ministers to work together is therefore highly welcome.
Secondly, there are several critical success factors for international rail freight to play a leading role in connecting European economies and to be able to act as the backbone for securing the supply of raw materials, food and medical goods. The EU transport Ministers and Commission agreement, as well as the Guidelines for border management, are welcome, but need to be followed by concrete actions.
The above signed associations therefore urge the European Commission and national authorities to consider the following elements in their decision-making process so as to allow rail freight to contribute to the unprecedented logistical challenges faced by European companies and retailers
- Rail Freight Corridors must become “green lanes” to guarantee European supply chains
- Allow cross border movements for systemic relevant staff
- Safeguard a minimum capacity at maintenance facilities
- Introduce flexibility in the regulatory framework to avoid traffic disruptions
- Coordinated approach to capacity restrictions
- Temporary Capacity Restrictions and Construction Works
- Economic Support for Continued Freight Flows