State Secretary Mansveld committed to expanding European goods transport by rail

Increased collaboration at the European level and joint action are needed in order to realise the full potential of goods transport by rail. Today, in Ghent, State Secretary Mansveld (Infrastructure and the Environment) calls on other European countries to take up this matter before too long. “Goods transport by rail is quick, safe and efficient. We must work together on sound and smooth cross-border connections, remove obstacles and implement the standard European safety system, ERTMS, across the entire continent.”

One-stop shop

Today State Secretary Mansveld is attending the conference on European railway corridors in Ghent. This conference marks the start of a more intensive European collaboration in the field of goods transport by rail and the so-called one-stop shop: a single desk at which rail carriers can plan international freight trips. This reduces delays in the transportation of freight within Europe. In the past, carriers had to arrange such trips with the railway managers of each separate country.

International corridors

International railway corridors are essential to boost the expansion of goods transport by rail. The one-stop shops offer their services on these routes that interconnect key trade centres in Europe. The first two large railway corridors in Europe, between Rotterdam and Genoa, and between Rotterdam, Lyon and Basel, were inaugurated recently. Three more corridors are planned to open in the very near future. The European Ministers have agreed that ERTMS will be implemented across the entire Rotterdam-Genoa corridor by no later than 2018.

State Secretary Mansveld: "Sustainable transport is essential for the future of our economy. By improving the connections between our countries and removing barriers we increase our economic opportunities: railway corridors get your freight from Antwerp to Basel sooner, enable you to transport goods from Hamburg to Palermo quickly and allow trains to travel directly from Rotterdam all the way to Genoa.”

Ms Mansveld emphasises that the plans to develop European rail transport should take account of the people living near the railway lines. Expanding goods transport by rail should go hand in hand with collaboration on noise reduction. For example, along the Rotterdam-Genoa corridor, carriers are encouraged to adapt their brake pads, in order to tackle noise nuisance at source.