The rail sector handed a petition to members of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday, asking for support for the rail freight transport measures package. With this they hope to accelerate the implementation of the plans to promote the competitive position of the railways. In addition, they want the policy that goes against this package, to be reversed.

The petition was signed by representatives of RailGood, KNV, Evofenedex, Branche Organization Seaports, trade unions and port companies. In the package of measures, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the rail sector have made agreements to give a strong boost to rail freight transport. In order to make these agreements a success, it is important that the House of Representatives take over the package as a whole, according to the parties.

The organizations involved shared concerns with the members of the Lower House on Thursday afternoon. Steven Lak Chairman of Evofenedex and the Rail Cargo Table: “The growth in the number of passengers on the railway tracks is becoming increasingly tense with ambitions to transport more goods by rail.” This means that they refer to the High Frequency Rail (PHS) Program, which makes it possible that an intercity runs every ten minutes.

According to them, PHS is at odds with the flow of cargo from the Dutch ports, industry and distribution centers which are also handled by rail. The state secretary must guarantee the flow of goods in the capacity allocation decision, they believe.

The package of measures must ensure that the volume of freight transport by rail grows to 54 to 61 million tonnes by 2030. Director Hans-Willem Vroon of RailGood: “We have now laid the foundation and a spot on the horizon. Now we have to agree on the concrete steps taken by various parties in the coming six months to reach 61 million tons. “

One of the steps the Ministry is taking until 2023, that it will make 12 to 14 million euros free to reduce the user fee for rail freight operators. According to the signatories of the petition, a big part of this subsidy with an extra levy from ProRail is nullified again.

Vroon also points out that the costs of using the railway may increase further in the coming years, because ProRail wants to make the use of the parking and sorting sidings by freight trains more expensive from 2020 onward.

The ERTMS security system is also a point of attention according to the parties involved. State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven indicated earlier that it is important that in the transition phase to ERTMS ‘the competitive position of rail freight transport does not deteriorate’. However, according to the parties, the compensation promised to freight operators for the installation of the safety system in the trains is far too low.

“The financial capacity is lacking in the sector to invest another 120 to 180 million euros in a new version of ERTMS in the short term. Full funding by the government of the national roll-out of ERTMS for rail freight transport is therefore necessary,” says Vroon.

The House of Representatives debates on Thursday the measures package for rail freight transport.