Rail freight traffic through the Channel Tunnel having increased by 10% in 2013 and by 13% in the first quarter of 2014, Eurotunnel has decided to reinforce its efforts to support the development of this traffic.
ETICA (Eurotunnel Incentive for Capacity Additions) is a programme put in place in May 2013 which provides aid for a limited period at the start up of new intermodal freight services. As it has succeeded beyond expectations, it will be extended to five new categories of traffic (new car transport, food and drink transported in conventional full train loads, consumer goods, logistics flows, manufactured goods and permanent distribution and service flows for rail freight suffering from obstacles outside of the Fixed Link) and extended to 2018.
In order to optimise the use of the Channel Tunnel for rail freight at night, charges for off peak hours (from 23:00 to 07:00 on weekdays) will benefit from a reduction of 25% and the charges for access during maintenance periods will be reduced to two nights per week instead of the current three. A single charge will be applied for maintenance periods, irrespective of the number of circulations. Eurotunnel has also ensured that the surcharge established by Réseau Ferré de France for security at Fréthun will be removed.
On top of these changes, Eurotunnel will commit to not increasing its freight charges until the end of 2018.
The goal is to generate a doubling of the number of trains to 5,000 per year in 2018. This objective could be achieved more easily if the other involved parties, amongst whom the principals are RFF and Network Rail supported the creation of a European Freight Corridor between Continental Europe and the United Kingdom and helped to remove the barriers which limit interoperability between networks.
These conditions will enter into service from June 2014 – following consultation with the Intergovernmental Commission and the other parties. They conform to European legislation and the founding texts of the Concession. The European Commission has confirmed that the general principals of Eurotunnel’s access charging structure conform with European regulation and has just notified the two governments that the infraction proceedings mentioned in the Reasoned Opinion of 20 June 2013, linked to the level of Tunnel access charges and the allocation of capacity will be dropped.