Extension of TERFFs to Central and Eastern European Countries - International Rail Renaissance?
BIRCH I and HUMPHREYS E, Ove Arup and Partners, UK
Between 1970 and the mid-1990s rail freight lost half its market share to road haulage in Western Europe. The reasons are complex and are related to a combination of changes in the structure of economic activity, national policies which disadvantaged rail
Between 1970 and the mid-1990s rail freight lost half its market share to road haulage in Western Europe. The reasons are complex and are related to a combination of changes in the structure of economic activity, national policies which disadvantaged rail and corporate inertia within railway organisations. Rail's market share in international traffic has suffered a similarly steep downward trend.
Rail haulage was dominant in the former command economies of the CEECs. It was well suited to the long distance transport of large quantities of bulk materials which formed part of a highly programmed industrial system. The road systems of the CEECs were less well developed. In terms of absolute volumes transported and market share, rail suffered a huge collapse in business in the first few years of transition to market based economies. A renaissance of rail in the CEECs is contingent upon the adoption of appropriate national and international policies and initiatives.
The EU has promoted policies over the last fifteen years aimed at improving rail competitiveness The 'Freeways' concept was launched in 1998 in order to improve the organisation and marketing of international rail freight in the EU. This paper reviews the Freeway concept and presents opportunities for extending the Freeways concept to the CEECs. It analyses the specific problems facing the international rail freight industry in the CEECs, and applies lessons drawn from the Freeways experiment in the EU to investigate whether a similar approach is appropriate for addressing them. It concludes that the preconditions for fully benefiting from an approach centred upon Freeways are not yet present; a number of areas are identified to which policy should be directed with a higher priority.
Association for European Transport