The Czech Republic (ČR) has joined the Rail Freight Corridor North Sea – Baltic. The Czech Republic lies on the intersection of the important European routes: RFC 5 corridor (Baltic– Adriatic), RFC 7 (Orient/East-Mediterranean), and RFC 9 (Czech-Slovak, CS corridor).
ČR and the countries of RFC 8 (BE, NL, DE, PL, LT) have thus made efforts towards the European Commission, and together with Poland have asked for the expansion of the corridor. A new southern branch will also connect to the corridor CR and the Lower and Upper Silesia, which are also areas with strong economical bonds to the industrial area of Rhineland and the North Sea ports. ČR is thus becoming an intersection of corridors 7, 8, and 9.
On the April 16, 2015, the European Commission ended the process of approval, and ČR joined the North Sea-Baltic rail freight corridor. ČR has become a full member of the RFC 8 corridor after two years of preparation. Praha-Kralupy nad Vltavou – Děčín – Dresden railway, which continues to Hannover, is now a new branch of the North Sea corridor with a great importance to the development of the combined transport and terminals, which thus get a connection to the North German ports and the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp.
For rail carriers, who operate between the Czech Republic and the North Sea ports and Ruhr area, the accession to the corridor means an opportunity to get access to the pre-selected routes, offered to transporters interested in the Corridor One-Stop Shop (C-OSS). Their purpose is to guarantee a continuous and even capacity for the freight trains (in preference to those who cross at least one international border), and this way to contribute to the acceleration, reliability and the overall productivity of rail fright with a positive impact on the general railway competitiveness.