Besides politics, ERFA’s objective is to support its members in case of problems affecting their individual business. The Association also intends to raise the members’ understanding of EU initiatives and ongoing activities by providing them direct access to EU ad hoc events, meetings but also regular working groups.
According to the Statutes, full members are companies directly and associations indirectly involved in rail freight operations (railway undertakings, shippers, infrastructure managers, ports, terminals, rolling stock providers) in EU, EFTA, and EU accession countries.
Associated members are associations, legal entities and persons having an indirect stake in rail freight operations but whose activities are of special importance for the accomplishment of the purposes of ERFA, such as companies from the rail passenger sector interested in fair competition.
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On the occasion of the ERFA Strategy Day Workshop, an internal meeting of private rail freight companies in Europe, the unfriendly business environment for rail freight and the weak state of the industry were heavily discussed.
The presentation of Joakim Landholm, CEO of Hector Rail, highlighted concerns related to the dominance of incumbents, in terms of distorting prices and limiting the customer-orientation as well as the lack of crucial and complete data in the sector. Geert Pauwels, CEO of Lineas stressed the failure of rail to make any significant gains from modal shift until now and the importance of a shift towards rail freight as crucial and urgent for sustainable logistics in Europe.
During the day the key role of national governments and infrastructure managers in supporting rail’s competitiveness was underlined. The German Master Plan should be developed as best practice in other European countries with a focus on international services.
The European Commission was also present at the meeting to outline on how they could support the reduction of the access charges in the rail sector and to present the Eurovignette directive as an instrument to level the playing field between rail and road.
The European Rail Freight Association strongly welcomes the adoption of new EU rules to improve the coordination of infrastructure works.
It is a positive step forward for rail’s competitiveness.
Improved rail performance is essential to make rail more customer-friendly and to encourage a shift of goods from road to rail.
ERFA urges infrastructure managers to ensure the success of the new framework for organising infrastructure works!