Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rail Freight Development Threat Removed By Brussels

Lobbying by FTA Helps Head Off Restrictions as New Polish - UK Service Opens
Shipping News Feature

UK – POLAND -The Freight Transport Association (FTA) say a threat to the future growth of the UK’s rail freight market has been avoided following news that the EU’s Non-Road Mobile Machinery Directive (NRMM) has been altered to allow more flexibility to produce railway engines. Although the Directive has yet to be ratified officially the ‘flexibility package’ now included, which could see a maximum of sixteen locomotive engines and a further ten extra engines available just for the UK market, has been written in to the text.

The FTA had lobbied extensively for the change both in the UK and Brussels to avoid a situation where rail freight operating companies in the UK would be unable to purchase new locomotives which the FTA say would have a disastrous effect on market competition and on accessibility for new market entrants. Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Supply Chain Policy, commented:

“The NRMM had posed a serious threat to rail freight as, in its original form, it would have required new build or re-engined locomotives to be fitted with a power unit that simply wasn’t available. If manufacturers were unable to build these engines to the new standards required in time then this would have surely stymied growth in UK rail freight and acted as a barrier to new entrants.

“While there are still a couple of administrative steps that need to be taken before the NRMM Directive flexibility package becomes law, it looks like our investment in putting our case before the UK Government, European Commission and Parliament has paid off.”

Meanwhile in other rail freight news DB Schenker have announced they will commence their new service between Wrocław, in South West Poland to Barking, East London on the 8th November with the first freight arriving in the UK on the 11th. The service will utilise the new High Speed One line and consequently be able to carry the oversize 9’6” containers which all stakeholders believe are essential to the development of efficient intercontinental rail freight services. In response to the news Christopher Snelling was again delighted when asked to comment saying:

“This gives us a unique chance to get full, European-sized trains into the UK and thus make full use of the whole, trans-European freight network we have available to us.”