The innovative rail freight corridors are coming to life
26 September 2013 • Author(s): Paul Mazataud, Managing Director, Rail Freight Corridor 2 and Deputy Head of Development, RFF
By 10 November 2013, six of the nine rail freight corridors initially foreseen by the EU Regulation 913/2010 concerning a European network for competitive freight will become operational. Rail Freight Corridor 2 (RFC2) is one of them. These corridors are extremely ambitious and will lead to major changes for international rail freight.
The first major change concerns capacity allocation. From November 2013, corridors will offer capacity shaped according to international rail freight market demand. This capacity will take the form of ‘off the shelf’ paths, reserved for international freight and that can either be requested for the next annual timetable or, for more flexibility, at short-term notice.
The infrastructure managers (IMs) and allocation bodies (ABs) of RFC2 have just finalised a major transport market study which has enabled the assessment of customer needs. They are now working closely together to offer applicants a sufficient number of high quality paths with seamless border crossings.
Railway undertakings (RUs) and other applicants will be able to request international capacity directly from the corridor in a single operation. With this in mind, each corridor has set up a one-stop-shop (so-called Corridor OSS) as a unique contact point for capacity allocation. This means that, for an RU that wants to run a train between, for example, Rotterdam and Basel, via Belgium, Luxembourg and France, only one request of capacity will be made and RFC2 OSS will provide a single answer – not five – to this request. RFC2 will use standardised processes and the European tool Path Coordination System (PCS) developed by RailNetEurope to handle capacity allocation. On top of that, RFC2 OSS is currently coordinating with the OSSs of other rail freight corridors to enable capacity allocation on several corridors to be performed in one operation.
‘Instructions for use’
The Corridor OSS will also provide all necessary information on the corridor conditions of use by publishing a Corridor Information Document. This document will give corridorscale information such as infrastructure character istics, access conditions, description of terminals and capacity and traffic manage – ment procedures. RFC2’s Corridor Information Document will be available on its website1 from November 2013.