Rotterdam Declaration of Ministers on Rail Freight Corridors

The European Commission intents to strengthen rail freight transport in Europe and significantly increase the shift from road to rail in future. On 14 June 2010, ten European Transport Ministers have reinforced and confirmed their intent to cooperate in the development of European rail freight corridors and let them grow together to networks.

The conference of Ministers "Rail infrastructure for freight services: from corridors to networks" was organised by the Dutch Minister of Transport Mr Camiel Eurlings. The Transport Ministers (respectively representatives of the ministries) of Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland participated in the conference held in Den Haag. The Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Kallas, the Spanish President of the European Council and the EU Coordinator for ERTMS, Mr Karel Vinck, supported this event as observers.

On 18 June 2010, the Dutch Newspaper "Nieuwsblad Transport" (NT) devoted some articles to the Corridor Rotterdam-Genoa. The leading article named "The blue banana is coming - Rail corridor for freight trains between Rotterdam and Genoa will be completed in 2015".

The article describes the actual developments on the corridor Rotterdam-Genoa. The Ministers underlined once again the importance of Rail corridors in general and specially the corridor Rotterdam-Genoa: "The idea behind a rail corridor is rather simple: just like lorries the trains must have the opportunity to run in one move from the beginning to their destination." ERTMS is the Key-word: this new European Control- and Command System is already in use on the Betuweline and in some sections in Switzerland. After a difficult start the system operates now properly.

Furthermore the ministers have made agreements on cooperation in other corridors, in order to connect the corridors to a network, on the operations c.q. harmonization on longer trains and in the collective abatement of railway noise.

The newspaper also contains:

  • An article about the construction of the Alp Tunnels in Switzerland, mainly the Lötchberg base tunnel (in operations since 2007) and the Gotthard-base tunnel (under construction; to be completed in 2017) and their indispensableness in the successful operation on the corridor.
  • A corridor map with facts and figures
  • An interview with Bert Klerk, CEO ProRail

Bert Klerk says here that it is quite an achievement that Minister Eurlings had brought all these ministers together, resulting in agreements about the rail corridors as written in their declaration.

Bert Klerk underlines the importance of the corridor cooperation between the related Infrastructure managers and the importance of connecting these corridors to a network. Furthermore Bert Klerk states that the Installation of ERTMS is a part of the story; it is as important that other measures like creating a good Train path offer via a so called One Stop Shop and structured cooperation in traffic control.


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