European rail freight sector welcomes market opening
European rail freight sector welcomes market opening and commits itself to improve efficiency
Brussels, Belgium – 30 January 2007 the European rail freight sector committed itself to support the development of a primary rail freight network and to make use of the most modern technology available in
order to increase efficiency of rail freight transport. Just a few days after the full
opening of the European rail freight markets, the four organisations representing rail
freight operators, infrastructure companies and the manufacturers, CER, UIC, EIM and
UNIFE, signed a declaration on the sector’s contribution to a sustainable freight transport
system throughout Europe.
The signing ceremony took place during the CER EurailFreight 2007 conference, in
presence of Vice-President and Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot and the German Transport Minister and head of the EU Transport Council Wolfgang Tiefensee.
Prior to the
signing, both politicians underlined the importance of rail freight as basic necessity for a
prosperous and sustainable European economy.
In his introductory speech, Wolfgang Tiefensee said “Logistics is a crucial element if we
want to increase efficiency and productivity in the European Union.”
Vice-President Barrot expressed his firm conviction that the coming years will be
decisive for the future of rail transport. He asked the sector to join forces to reach a
substantial shift of freight from road to rail. He said “This modal shift is in line with our
efficiency targets and our fight against pollution and climate change.”
Johannes Ludewig, Executive Director of CER said: “The railway companies welcome the
full market opening. Competition has continued to develop vigorously in the last years.
On the whole, there are now more than 500 licensed companies offering rail freight
services in the Europe Union, reflecting the growing diversity of services and the
increasing vitality of this market. We now need the appropriate infrastructure and a
sound financing system for transport infrastructure, based on the “user-pays-principle”
and the internalisation of external costs.”
More than 300 guests attended this third major pan-European CER conference on rail
freight which beared testimony to the developments which have transformed the rail
freight landscape in just half a decade.
The EurailFreight Declaration is available on www.cer.be The presentations of the conference will be uploaded as well on the CER website.