Freight News, Rail

Eurotunnel offers more bait for freight

[ May 1, 2014   //   ]

Eurotunnel is to extend its Eurotunnel Incentive for Capacity Additions (ETICA) programme to further increase through rail freight traffic. It will be extended to five new categories of traffic – new car transport, food and drink transported in conventional full train loads, consumer goods, logistics flows, manufactured goods and permanent distribution and service flows for rail freight suffering from obstacles outside of the

Fixed Link) and extended to 2018.

Since ETICA was put in place in May 2013, rail freight traffic through the Channel Tunnel increased by 10% in 2013 and by 13% in the first quarter of 2014, says the tunnel operator. It was originally envisaged as providing aid for a limited period at the start up of new intermodal freight services.

There will also be a 25% reduction in charges for off peak hours – which is actually the peak time for through rail freight – from 23:00 to 07:00 on weekdays.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) welcomed Eurotunnel’s announcement, pointing out that it follows an ongoing European Commission investigation into the Channel Tunnel charging regimes and the decision by the Channel Tunnel Regulator obliging Eurotunnel to make its costs more transparent – something FTA has been lobbying for.
FTA submitted a report showing that a 40 per cent cut in rail freight tolls would lead to a more than doubling of freight trains through the tunnel. FTA’s director of global and European policy, Chris Welsh, said: “We very much support the statement made by Eurotunnel as this crucially recognises that freight access charges need to be substantially reduced to boost freight traffic through the tunnel.  This is great news for shippers, the rail industry and the environment. We now look forward to working with Eurotunnel and its freight management team to promote greater use of the tunnel by shippers as part of FTA’s ongoing campaign to promote rail freight and mode shift.”

The Rail Freight Group likewise welcomed the announcement, pointing out also that there would be no further increase until at least 2018. 

Maggie Simpson, RFG Executive Director said today, ‘This announcement is good news for rail freight and will help deliver a growth in services through the Channel Tunnel.  This offers significant benefits to businesses in the UK seeking efficient, affordable and environmentally sound transport links.  We congratulate all parties involved in securing this agreement.

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