Freight charges could cut traffic by 10% – RFG
ORR proposals to overhaul access charges for rail freight risk “destabilising” recent growth and customer confidence, according to the Rail Freight Group.
The ORR is considering proposals to introduce new charges for freight, following a recent consultation, with proposals including an additional charge on operators moving power station coal, iron ore and spent nuclear fuel, different charges for geographic areas as well as for each locomotive and wagon type, and introducing scarcity or capacity charges.
The ORR suggests that this will make the structure of access charges more cost-reflective and see freight operators make a greater contribution to the costs that freight operations impose on the network.
But the Rail Freight Group (RFG) asserts that the proposals could amount to an additional £60m each year, which would lead to a traffic reduction of at least 10% in those sectors.
Tony Berkeley, RFG chairman, said: “The rail freight sector has been growing successfully in recent years, and customer and investor confidence is strong. These proposals risk destabilising this, and turning customers back to road, with its simple and straightforward pricing structure.
“Why does the ORR believe that causing a 10% drop in traffic complies with its duty to promote rail freight? ORR needs to look for different ways of achieving its objectives that are less damaging to rail freight operators and their customers.”
To view the consultation, visit www.rail-reg.gov.uk/pr13/PDF/freight-charge-consultation-may2012.pdf
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