CER: Road tolls must reflect the costs of transport

Brussels, Belgium – The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) deplores
the poor quality of a study commissioned by the International Road Transport
Union (IRU) on the potential effect of road tolls. IRU is not succeeding in its
polemic effort to prove the 2005 McKinsey study on the future of rail freight in
Europe wrong.

First of all, the McKinsey study is seriously misquoted: E.g. in terms of potential
levels of road fees, the McKinsey study looks at the Swiss example of €0.49 per
kilometre (and not €0.60 as stated by IRU) as bringing up the market share of rail
freight up to 16 to 17%.

Second, the road lobby tries to overlook the all too obvious facts, i.e. that there
is a clear correlation between road tolls internalising external costs and the
market share of rail freight. Countries with high road tolls, such as Switzerland
and Austria, also have the highest market shares in rail freight in Europe.

Johannes Ludewig, Executive Director of CER, underlines: “The members of CER
support market opening and competition. But they must be able not only to
compete among themselves, but also to compete on a level playing field with the
road transport.” Therefore, CER asks the European Commission to submit,
pursuant to the Eurovignette Directive, the report on the inclusion of external
costs in the road tolls as soon as possible. Ludewig said: “European politicians
have a clear political choice to make: if road tolls remain as they are today and
continue not to cover the full costs, rail will have difficulties; if roads pay for all
their costs, rail can play its role in a sustainable transport system”.

The McKinsey study “The future of rail freight in Europe” can be ordered from Elke.Schaenzler@cer.be