CER publishes April 2021 ‘COVID Impact Tracker’ figures
CER has released the April 2021 figures for passenger, freight and, for the first time, infrastructure services from its updated ‘COVID Impact Tracker’.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent national lockdowns continue to impact heavily on rail. Findings of the latest ‘COVID Impact Tracker’ carried out in April 2021 by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) among its members has found that:
- Compared to 2019 figures, passenger revenues remain at half of what they were in pre-crisis times (stagnating at -51 per cent since November 2020)
- Revenues from freight meanwhile are deteriorating (from a decline of three per cent in December 2020 to 10 per cent in Q1 2021)
- Infrastructure managers are also seeing increased losses, up from a decline of eight per cent in summer 2020 to -13 per cent in Q1 2021.
Investigating infrastructure losses for the first time, the latest CER survey clearly indicates that rail continues to be affected across the board by the ongoing pandemic. Targeted support to railways to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 is urgently needed and is indispensable for the sector’s recovery and future growth.
CER‘s Executive Director, Alberto Mazzola, said: “Achieving the European Green Deal objectives will require a significant modal shift to rail. Railways have the capacity to support both recovery and Europe’s sustainable transition, but we need to ensure that they emerge strong enough from this crisis to do so. Substantial compensation of current losses, but also lowering charges on operators while compensating infrastructure managers for the related lost revenues, are indispensable to help the sector to get through this difficult period.”
April 2021 findings from CER’s ‘COVID Impact Tracker’
After a small relief in summer 2020, passenger losses started to worsen in October 2020 to reach -51 per cent in November 2020 (compared to the same period of 2019). Losses consistently remained at around -51 per cent during the next four months until March 2021, with weekly losses close to €600 million per week.
Following an almost normal month of December 2020 (a decline of three percent), freight revenues then plummeted to -10 per cent, where they have remained until March 2021. Losses are nevertheless five per cent lower than in Q1 2020, which saw the start of the COVID-19 crisis. In March 2021, average weekly losses were above €30 million per week.
Investigated for the first time in April 2021 by the “CER COVID Tracker”, infrastructure data has shown a sharp decrease in infrastructure managers’ revenues since the start of 2021 (-13 per cent). Q1 2021 losses are almost as high as what they were in the first half of 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Reasons for this are multiple, but their respective weight has not yet been ascertained.