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4th TransportNET Research Seminar on Railway Policy


Rail Freight: the Thwarted Ambitions of EU
KIT Karlsruhe, 11 March 2016


The objectives of the European Union for rail freight are clearly expressed in successive White Papers, particularly the one published in 2011. Objective 3 states: “30% of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050” (European Commission, White Paper, 2011). This expected modal shift, mainly in favor of rail transport, reflects a desire to reverse past trends, in which road transport has become very dominant. In order for this ambition to amount to more than wishful thinking, the EU has sought to develop intra-modal competition to revitalize this sector.

However, in light of the unrelenting strong intermodal competition, mainly from road transport, one cannot help but question the European Union’s objectives. To what extent will rail freight transport be able to expand its relevance? This, alongside other topics are discussed in the seminar with the aim of vetting the future of rail freight in Europe.

  • "The structure of freight flows in Europe and its implications for EU railway freight policy", Prof. Kay Mitusch, KIT
  • "Which regulation for which railway market structure in Europe? The Belgium case study", Florent Laroche, University of Antwerp
  • "Outlook and challenges for the German rail freight market", Thorsten Dieter, DB Schenker Germany
  • "Outlook and challenges for the French rail freight market", M. Gregoire Marlot, SNCF, Head of strategy
  • "Opportunities and challenges for rail freight: what can be the future added value? - A case study of Belgium", Frank Troch, University of Antwerp
  • "Is rail freight facing a structural decline both from supply and demand sides?", Prof. Yves Crozet, LAET, Université de Lyon
  • "The perspective of a French competitor in Germany", M. Marcel de LaHaye, Captrain Deutschland (subsidiary of SNCF)
  • "The perspective of an international competitor", Michail Stahlhut, SBB Deutschland
  • "Expectations of shippers on the developments of rail freight", Mr. Denis Choumert, Chairman of the European Association of Shippers


The seminar is organized by Prof. Kay Mitusch (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, KIT) and Prof. Yves Crozet (Université de Lyon) and Prof Thierry Vanelslander (University of Antwerp).


Selected presentations can be downloaded here (password protected)