Accession of the Czech Republic to Rail Freight Corridor North Sea – Baltic Sea
(Wilhelmshaven/Bremerhaven/Hamburg/Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Antwerpen-Aachen/Berlin-Warszawa-Terespol (state border Poland/Belarus)/Kaunas-Rīga-Tallinn)
In the year 2010, the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council No 913/2010 defined nine rail freight corridors (RFC) creating a railway network on the EU territory for competitive railway transport. This network of freight corridors has as objective to increase the share of the environmental-friendly railway on the transport market within the European Union and to support the development of an internal market within freight transport.
Up to now, three of nine European corridors were crossing the Czech Republic which is traditionally situated on the crossroads of important European routes: the RFC 5 corridor (Baltic Sea – Adriatic Sea), the RFC 7 corridor (Orient – East Med) and the RFC 9 corridor (Czech-Slovak, in abbreviation CS corridor). However, none of these corridors connected the Czech Republic sufficiently to Western Europe countries. Therefore, the Czech Republic and the RFC 8 countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Latvia) showed their best efforts towards the European Union and together with Poland asked for an extension of this corridor with a new southern branch which connects - besides the Czech Republic – the areas of Lower and Upper Silesia to this corridor as well, characterised also by strong economic ties to the industrial area of Rhineland and North Sea harbours. The Czech Republic thus becomes a locality where three corridors – RFC 7, 8 and 9 connect.
On 16 April 2015, the approval procedure was finalised by the European Commission and the Czech Republic acceded to the Rail Freight Corridor North Sea – Baltic Sea. After more than two years of preparations, the Czech Republic thus becomes a full member of this corridor, designated as RFC 8. The railway line Prague – Kralupy nad Vltavou – Děčín – Dresden with a continuation further to Hannover constitutes now a new branch of the corridor North Sea – Baltic Sea with inconsiderable importance for the development of combined transport and our terminals which thus acquire an advantageous connection to North Sea harbours as well as to the harbours of Rotterdam and Antwerp.
For Czech carriers operating between the Czech Republic and North Sea harbours and the Ruhr Region, this accession presents an opportunity for acquiring access to the so-called pre-arranged paths which are constructed on each freight corridor and being offered to interested parties among carriers and customers by the Corridor One-stop shops (C-OSS). Their purpose on corridor lines is to guarantee continuous and homogeneous capacity for freight trains (preferentially for trains crossing at least one state border) and thus to contribute to higher speeds, reliability increase and overall performance of rail freight transport with a positive impact on the competitiveness of the railway as a whole.
Therefore, the accession of the Czech Republic to the RFC corridor North Sea – Baltic Sea is a step to a more connected Europe as well as an opportunity to increase further the role of the railway on these key connections.
More information on the RFC 8 freight corridor can be found on the website www.rfc8.eu. Complementary information on other freight corridors can be found on the website www.rne.eu/rail-freight-corridors-rfcs.html.