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Efficient Infrastructure is the foundation for growth

Posted: 2 April 2013 | Dr Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development, Germany | No comments yet

Efficient transport infrastructure is the foundation for the growth and competitiveness of our economy. More and more countries in Europe have come to the realisation that the forecast increase in commodity flows cannot be managed anymore with the already available infrastructure. This also means that focusing on one single mode of transport is not enough: The benefits of all modes of transport – road, rail, waterborne and air – must be exploited to the fullest.

Efficient transport infrastructure is the foundation for the growth and competitiveness of our economy. More and more countries in Europe have come to the realisation that the forecast increase in commodity flows cannot be managed anymore with the already available infrastructure. This also means that focusing on one single mode of transport is not enough: The benefits of all modes of transport – road, rail, waterborne and air – must be exploited to the fullest.

Efficient transport infrastructure is the foundation for the growth and competitiveness of our economy. More and more countries in Europe have come to the realisation that the forecast increase in commodity flows cannot be managed anymore with the already available infrastructure. This also means that focusing on one single mode of transport is not enough: The benefits of all modes of transport – road, rail, waterborne and air – must be exploited to the fullest.

This particularly opens up opportunities for rail transportation. The European Railway Policy of recent years aims at further improving the prerequisites for efficient and competitive railways in order to give them even more significance on the transport market.

A key political task is to achieve a practicable approach to differentiate between the responsi – bilities of the public and the private sectors in the entire transport sector. It is the task of the private sector to provide passenger transport, freight transport and logistics services. The main responsibility of the public sector is to ensure an efficient infrastructure and fair rules of competition. These objectives are the key corner – stones of both the European and our national railway policy.

The Federal Government will continue to systematically pursue the structural reform of the railways which was launched in 1993. The results show that, in doing so, we are heading in the right direction. We are witnessing an increase in the number of passenger kilometres travelled and the amount of freight moved and growing competition on the railways. In this process, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn AG has achieved an increase in DB AG group turnover, productivity and operating results.

An efficient infrastructure is a key prerequisite for further success – this also applies to the railways. In 2013, the Federal Government is making approximately €1.4 billion of funding available for the construction and upgrading of railway lines. It is also making an additional €2.5 billion available to the federal railway infrastructure companies for the replacement of capital assets on existing lines in 2013. The federal states will also receive considerable financial assistance in 2013 from the Federal Government for regional transport services; around €7.2 billion. In doing so, we are assuming our responsibility for the public railway infrastructure and the provision of passenger rail services.

In addition to ensuring an efficient railway infrastructure, we want to further enhance competition in the railway sector. The right to non-discriminatory use of the railway infrastructure as well as the regionalisation of local and regional passenger rail services have proved an important basis for doing so. In the course of intramodal competition, efficient and customerfocused railway undertakings have emerged which convince customers with a range of competitive services. We want to push ahead with this development.

The total number of local and regional passenger rail services rose by approximately 28% between 1994 and 2011. The market share of private railways rose from 2.4 to 24.1% within the same period. In addition, we were able to increase the passenger mileage in local and regional passenger rail services by 63%.

The internationalisation of rail freight has further increased. About half of all transport operations by railway undertakings in Germany are cross-border operations. In particular in national and international long-distance rail transport operations, various state-owned railway undertakings and major private under takings are competing. Competition is not a value in itself in this process. The clear objective is to increase the volume of rail traffic. In order to successfully continue this develop ment, we launched the parliament ary procedures in 2012 to adopt the bill on the reorganisation of the regulation in the railway sector. By doing so, we want to increase efficiency, further improve access to the rail way infrastructure and strengthen the powers of the Federal Network Agency as a regulatory authority.

At international level we want to continue the course of liberalisation that has been launched. After the complete opening-up of access to the rail freight network in 2007, the European rail network was opened-up for international passenger services from 2010. European rail transport as a whole will benefit from this development.

Our objective remains the complete liberal – isation of the EU railway market. The next step will be to open up the network to all national long-distance, regional and local passenger rail services. On this issue, we strongly welcome the legislative proposal which the European Commission presented at the beginning of 2013 as part of the Fourth Railway Package.

Biography:

Dr Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development, Germany

 

 

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