For the first time in history, private companies or subsidiaries of large holdings operating as private companies occupy the majority of the European rail freight market with a market share of 51% compared to the public sector. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to RailFreight.

Private freight

This conclusion was reached by the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA). In March last year, it was reported that the balance was almost equal. Later that year, this balance was tilted in favor of the private market.

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In most cases, challengers and new market entrants have not replaced existing trade flows but created new markets for rail freight, especially in the intermodal and logistics sectors, ERFA notes. This has resulted in rail freight being able to offset reductions in traditional traffic, such as fossil fuel transportation, with new services, whilst also giving choice to customers and better meeting customers’ requirements.

The trajectory of rail freight is becoming more and more international – most of the rail transport in the EU takes place at border crossings. Consequently, there is an increasing need for railway legislation, both at European and national level, to reflect this market reality.

ERFA praises the business of the challengers, as they are “efficient, growth-focused, and drive innovation in customer service and deployment of new technology”. Unlike incumbent companies, they focus on a narrower business and geographic area, and are cost-effective and flexible compared to the complex processes of holding companies.

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