France to Waive Track Access Charges for 2020

The French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, has said that France will waive track access charges for the remainder of 2020 and cut them in half for all of 2021, a decision welcomed by the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA).

This French announcement follows a June proposal by the European Commission to allow the waiving or reduction of track access charges as a measure to help the railway industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Both passenger and freight undertakings have seen a huge drop in demand, impacting on the viability of running services.

ERFA is now ‘strongly supporting’ the adoption of the EC Regulation by both the Parliament and the Council. Jean Castex’s announcement, ERFA said, showed that Member States were serious about taking advantage of the freedoms granted by the EC proposal. The proposal importantly earmarks funding to ensure that infrastructure managers also remain properly funded and that infrastructure works can continue undisturbed.

Dirk Stahl, President, ERFA, said:

“The announcement by Prime Minster Castex is an extremely positive development for all rail freight operators active in France. We strongly believe that it sends a strong signal to European policy makers that the proposal of the European Commission is fair and appropriate. We encourage all national governments to implement similar measures to assist rail freight undertakings.”

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