Variation in European Liberalization of Rail Freight Markets.

Variation in European Liberalization of Rail Freight Markets.


J Ludvigsen, O Osland, Institute of Transport Economics, NO


This paper examines dynamics between railway liberalization and intra-and-intermodal competition in Norway, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic and Romania, and explores the minimum-level of institutional reforms that releases sufficient market opening.


New Knowledge produced by the EC-sponsored REORIENT research study shows that Norway and Sweden score high on implementation of the First Infrastructure Package and Interoperability Directive. However, despite the seemingly efficient administrative and regulatory apparatus, both countries experience lack of competition from the new rail freight entrants. In contrast, the regulatory and administrative institutions in Poland, Czech Republic and Romania score relatively low on implementation of the EC new rail policy. Yet, the market share acquired by the Polish private freight operators reached in October 2006 16.8 p.c., a level which is by far the highest in the EU. Similarly, private rail entrants into Czech and Romanin domestic freight markets move sizable amount of goods gaining thereby a strong foothold in the otherwise falling domestic rail segment. These empirical developments raise considerable concerns over effectiveness of the EC rail market liberalization directives and provide basis for the following research questions:
1) Is efficient regulatory and administrative governance a sufficient condition for inter-rail and rail-road-competition?
2) What types of regulatory and administrative barriers do hamper market liberalization and intra-modal competition in one set of countries while not in another?
3) What features of societal and business cultures release competitive forces despite the shortcoming in free and un-discriminatory political, administrative and institutional governance?
4) Can the entrepreneurial vigour and competitive orientation of new rail ventures countervail the inadequacies of the regulatory and administrative systems?
5) What is the minimum-level of institutional reforms that initiates market opening large enough for new rail entrepreneurs to enter the freight market rivalry?
6) Do the administrative contents and the hierarchical locations of entry switching points vary across different countries?
7) What strategic and operational measures do the new market entrants apply to circumvent, neutralize and reduce the extant institutional, administrative and technical barriers?


Association for European Transport