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Rail Crisis Alert: FerCargo Demands Government Action to Salvage Freight Rail and Support Green Transition

Rail Crisis Alert: FerCargo Demands Government Action to Salvage Freight Rail and Support Green Transition
photo: Nicolas Grevet / Flickr/Cinque Terre
15 / 03 / 2024

FerCargo, an Italian association representing new freight railroad companies entering the market, is urgently calling for a change of direction by the government, which it accuses of enacting measures that not only have a devastating effect on the sector but also starkly contradict the shared goal of moving toward a "green economy" through the growth of rail transport. By continuing on the recent path, the sector is at risk of becoming marginal in both national and cross-border transportation systems.

Particularly, the Loco-Truck decree (Decreto loco-carri), adopted in 2021 and ratified by the EU a few months ago, has been significantly cut by the Executive's recent decision from the planned EUR 125 million to EUR 70 million. This reduction threatens to place numerous companies, which had planned and executed substantial investments based on the Decree, in extreme difficulty, in addition to compromising the measure’s role in supporting the renewal of the locomotive and wagon fleet.

This is just the latest in a series of initiatives endangering rail freight transport, including the more than a year-long interruption of the Ferrobonus measure and the reduction of funds allocated to the Toll Discount for 2023, a crucial support for the sector.

John Law / Flickr

Moreover, there has been a total absence of support for businesses amidst the significant amount of work on the national rail network related to the NRP, leading to numerous construction sites and the partial or complete closure of many lines across the country. This reduction in capacity, peaking at 60 percent for freight train paths, often results in the inability to operate, severely impacting revenues or, at best, leading to increased mileage and a sharp rise in costs. Additionally, the prolonged partial or total closures of the Gotthard and Frejus tunnels, vital for European goods transit, have hurt operators without any provided support.

This misguided transport policy could paradoxically result in infrastructures that, once ready and adequate, may remain unused due to lack of traffic, effectively nullifying billions of euros in investment.

Therefore, FerCargo is urging the government, particularly the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, to reconsider its current stance before the damage becomes irreversible, calling for immediate intervention to support the sector.

Source: FerCargo Press Releases