Rail Freight Services for Containers: What Kind of Agreements After Liberalisation?

Rail Freight Services for Containers: What Kind of Agreements After Liberalisation?


J Daydou, E Gouvernal, INRETS, FR



The institutional environment of rail transport has changed as a result of European directives, but the change has taken different forms according to the member-countries. In the case of international maritime chains, the development of door-to-door services, linked to the concentration of traffic in loading and discharging ports, makes inland haulage extremely important and highlights the need to reshape the rail freight industry.

Several maritime operators, Shipping lines, port handling companies and port authorities have been involved in some containers trains services since the early days of liberalisation. Their commitments take very different forms and the agreements used vary from implicit ones to a more or less strong integration. Whereas contracts are mainly used for the production of the service and particularly for train haulage, integration by means of shareholding or creation of subsidiary or joint ventures is used for marketing. France and the United Kingdom do not know any integration of rail production by maritime operators even if their regulatory situations are opposite. Germany and the Netherlands offer a more comprehensive environment to the maritime operators principally by the presence of rolling stock rental companies. Integration of rail production by shipping lines or handling companies can be seen in these countries, although the corresponding investments remain fairly small. Anyhow, marketing is the strategic issue for the maritime operators. And the only enterprises to integrate completely these services are railways companies within opposite contexts (the United-Kingdom and France).


Association for European Transport