The parties operating in the rail freight transport sector have reached an agreement with the Dutch State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven about an incentives package that is intended to make rail freight transport even more sustainable and attractive. Among other things, the agreement concerns various measures regarding the substantial reduction of the usage charge, adaptation to the European railway safety system ERTMS and the improvement of the surroundings of people in the vicinity of the rail network.
The incentives package was adopted in consultation with the rail freight round table. Shippers, rail operators, terminals, ports, railway infrastructure companies, ProRail and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management come together in this platform to confer about the future of rail transport.
The incentives package contains financial and technical solutions for freight transport by rail. A few examples:
- Every year, an amount of EUR 12 to 14 million in funding will be made available in the period until year end 2023 that enables a sizeable reduction of the usage charge – bringing the costs to a level comparable with that found in Germany (the impact of the measure will be evaluated in 2021).
- It will be examined which adaptations could allow operators to deploy longer trains – to a maximum length of 740 metres.
- In the context of the implementation of the new rail security system ERTMS, the government will work to take advantage of national and European funding and shape the complex transition toward ERTMS in such a way that it creates the right conditions for the healthy growth of freight transport by rail.
- The parties will work together to increase the efficiency of rail freight transport in port areas, use quieter rolling stock and hybrid locomotives and examine which options there are to introduce low-vibration bogies.
Through these and other measures, the members of the rail freight round table aim to increase the volume of freight transport by rail from 42 million tonnes in 2016 to 54-61 million tonnes by 2030. The program will encourage a modal shift, meaning that it is in line with the climate targets and the Dutch government’s coalition agreement.