Train gains ground in goods transport

Parties involved in the transport of goods by rail have reached agreement with State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven on a package of measures designed to make goods transport by rail more sustainable and more attractive.

Package of measures on rail goods transport agreed

The measures include a large reduction in the user fee, deployment in relation to the European rail safety system ERTMS and improving environmental conditions for those living near the railway. The package will enable a modal shift and is thus in line with the climate targets and the coalition agreement.

The package is established in consultation with the Rail Goods Consultation, in which shipping companies, rail operators, terminals, ports, rail infrastructure companies, ProRail and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management discuss the future of transport by rail. State Secretary van Veldhoven: “The economy is doing well, and the transport of goods is therefore also increasing. In this consultation we ensure that these goods flows are carried by rail as far as possible. This eases pressure on our roads and is also good for the environment. Today we have made significant progress by establishing our common goals for the near future in a single package.”

The broad package of measures includes financial and technical solutions for goods transport by rail. Some examples:

  • Until year-end 2023, a subsidy of € 12 to 14 million will be provided annually so that the net user fee can be substantially reduced and brought to a level similar to that in Germany (Measure will be evaluated in 2021).
  • Changes enabling longer trains of up to 740 metres in length will be reviewed.
  • For the introduction of the new safety system ERTMS, the Cabinet will strive to use national and European funds and design the complex transition to ERTMS so as to enable healthy growth in goods transport by rail.
  • There will be cooperation to make the transport of goods by rail more efficient in port regions, use quieter equipment and hybrid locomotives and investigate the potential for low-vibration carriages.

With these and other measures, the members of the Rail Goods Consultation hope to increase the volume of goods transport by rail per track from 42 million tonnes (2016) to 54-61 million tonnes by 2030. Chair of the Rail Goods Consultation Steven Lak: “This package is the beginning of a new approach. It is thus very important that all parties involved in the railways continue to work together. I see huge enthusiasm among all parties and this package is a real boost to the transport of goods by rail.”

The package will be further developed together with the Rail Goods Consultation in the coming months. The House of Representatives was informed of the substance of the package by means of a letter this afternoon.