The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed today’s announcement by Eurotunnel that it is committing to reducing the current level of freight train track access charges by up to 50 per cent. This follows an ongoing European Commission investigation into the Channel Tunnel charging regimes and the decision by the Channel Tunnel Regulator (the Intergovernmental Commission) obliging Eurotunnel to make its Channel Tunnel costs more transparent – a key element in determining the level of track access charges. This action follows lobbying by FTA for a reduction in Channel Tunnel freight access charges. In 2011 FTA asked the European Commission to investigate the charges under various EU rail directives, including transparency of costs and charging rules.
To assist the Commission with its inquiries, 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.
Commenting on the announcement by Eurotunnel, Chris Welsh, FTA’s Director of Global and European Policy 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.”
Chris Welsh added: “We warmly welcome the European Commission investigation and action taken by the IGC, which has paved the way for these freight charge reductions. Our 2011 report ‘The impact of Eurotunnel tolls on through rail freight’ showed that a 40 per cent cut in rail freight tolls would lead to over a doubling of freight trains through the tunnel and the saving of approximately 250,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
“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.”