ERFA welcomes the Commission Communication of 23 March on the implementation of the Green Lanes. ERFA believes it is essential that the Green lanes concept is now adopted by Member States and built upon by ensuring that critical infrastructure remains accessible 24/7 and that there is strong cooperation between Member States and national authorities on rail capacity management.
Unobstructed transport of goods is crucial to maintain availability of goods. For rail freight, this means that the Green Lanes and the entirety of the TEN-T Core Network must continue to be accessible 24/7 as well as there being a strong level of capacity management coordination between Member States. If any single Member States diverts from this 24/7 commitment, it will subsequently mean a Green Lane cannot operate on a 24/7 basis and the transport of goods will be obstructed.
National authorities need to therefore coordinate so as to ensure that rail capacity along Green Lanes remains open around the clock. When required, and in light of reduced passenger demand, this should include the optimised use of available resources to allow freight trains to continue ongoing and planned operations.
Dirk Stahl, ERFA President, said: “For rail freight to offer a solution to shippers and retailers moving freight internationally, we need predictable and coordinated capacity management. We strongly welcome the good work done by infrastructure managers to date to address these needs. We now need a strong commitment that Green Lanes will continue to operate around the clock and that any capacity reductions will be done in a coordinated manner and in consultation with rail freight undertakings.”
Conor Feighan, ERFA Secretary General, stated: “The Commission Communication on Green Lanes has provided important clarifications to the Guidelines for Border Management Measures to Protect Health and Ensure the Availability of Goods and Essential Services, particularly in regards to cross border movement of transport workers. The rail freight industry now needs a firm commitment that the spirit of the European Commission’s Communication and Guidelines will be adopted by national authorities.”