Six international rail freight corridors became operational on 10 November 2013. These will foster international freight transport by rail, making this transport mode more competitive. Within the six corridors, rail Infrastructure Managers (IMs) are cooperating across borders in order to markedly improve service quality and reliability. Freight trains will benefit from high-quality train paths with attractive journey times and common punctuality targets.
On the Rail Freight Corridors (RFCs), Railway Undertakings and Applicants such as shippers, freight forwarders and combined transport operators can request pre-arranged, cross-border train paths at a single contact point, instead of having to submit individual requests to several national Infrastructure Managers (IMs) – this will lighten their administrative burden and speed up proceedings.
The six corridors are the Rhine–Alp Corridor, the North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor, the Atlantic Corridor, the Mediterranean Corridor, the Orient Corridor and the Eastern Corridor. Their routes can be viewed on page 9 of the competitive freight handbook. Since there is much overlap between RNE’s own corridors – of which the eight first were launched as early as 2005 – a transition phase has begun. During this phase, some RNE Corridors are being merged into the future network of Rail Freight Corridors: where an RFC matches an RNE Corridor, the function of RNE Corridor Manager will be integrated in the RFC organisations’ tasks in order to avoid any work duplication. In other cases, RNE Corridors will continue as they are. Current RNE Corridors 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 as well as parts of 10, are being replaced by RFCs 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9.
Yet for parts of the European rail network where no new corridor organisation is planned yet, RNE is maintaining its RNE Corridors for the benefit of both, the Infrastructure Managers and their customers. RNE Corridors bring quick wins, for example a tried-and-tested service portfolio that can be adopted with little effort by the involved parties. They may also help Infrastructure Managers to get acquainted with the requirements of any future RFC membership.
The six new corridors will be complemented by three other RFCs (Scandinavian-Mediterranean, Baltic-Adriatic and North Sea-Baltic) ¬– set to become operational by 10 November 2015.