Rail freight plays an essential role in certain European supply chains. Without rail to transport certain goods, there is a risk of companies consequently reducing their production which will then result in a lack of supply. The on-going energy crisis across the globe that heavily impacts rail freight poses thus a substantial risk of disrupting European supply chains that rely heavily on rail. Even though a champion in energy-efficiency compared to other modes of freight transport, rail freight still remains a big consumer of electric energy and simply cannot cope with unsustainable surges in energy prices as high as 300 – 1000% depending on the Member State.
As European Transport Ministers are meeting informally from 20 – 21 October 2022 in Prague, to discuss the impact of the energy crisis on the rail sector among other priorities, UIP, ERFA and UIRR have published a joint statement to call for measures that will protect European supply chains from unsustainable energy price increases.
In our joint statement we are calling on Member States to include electric rail freight in the final consumer group that can be supported with financial measures under EU Regulation 2022/1854 by using surplus revenues from capping energy prices. We also call on the European Commission to come up with similar measures such as under Regulation (EU) 2020/1429 on measures for a sustainable rail market in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, to reduce infrastructure charges with appropriate compensation by Member States towards infrastructure managers.