Freight rail operators will face a disastrous future if the government does not offer help due to the massive increase in energy prices, according to a statement from the French industry alliance Fret Ferroviaire Français du Futur (4F). It is reported by the Railway Supply magazine with reference to the Railway Gazette.


The 4F Alliance has called for a cap on the price of traction power of 180 euros per MWh and changes to the track access fee regime for freight trains so that they are paid entirely by the state.

At his meeting with 4F members in November, the minister indicated that they would receive a response within two weeks. However, by mid-December, there was still no response. In the meantime, operators said they were facing an increase in the traction energy fee proposed by the SNCF Réseau managing infrastructure to €473.51/MWh in 2023, meaning that the fee would increase 8.5 times from €56/ MWh in 2021.

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If no action is taken, the future will be invariably bleak, especially for smaller operators, 4F said. One of the risks highlighted by 4F is that higher energy prices for rail might cause chaos for the road freight industry as well. This is because, as the association explained, the road sector cannot absorb all the rail volumes, leading to possible disruptions in the whole supply chain.

The 4F Alliance reiterated that rail freight requires only a sixth of the energy as road transport, while producing only a ninth of the CO2 emissions. Failure to help the rail freight sector would call into doubt the government’s commitment to decarbonising transport, it concluded.

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