International cooperation – transport
Rail transport is increasingly taking on an international dimension. More than 80% of Dutch freight rail transport is cross-border transport. For a trading nation as the Netherlands, with major ports such as those in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, it is vital that we agree on common rules at a European level. This will make free movement possible without any market barriers.
Independent Regulators Group - Rail (IRG - Rail)
IRG – Rail was founded in 2011 as a collaboration between European rail regulators. Its goals are:
- Promoting a uniform application of European regulations
- Developing ‘best practices’
- Creating a single point of contact for European regulators
The characteristics of the rail industry combined with the goal of a common market call for a European approach. Most of the existing regulations come from Brussels, and for good reason. However, countries apply the European directives differently. That is because, among other reasons, each country has its own rules as well.
Different interpretations lead to problems in international transport. Within IRG-Rail, members exchange best practices. They additionally tackle problems together. This makes it much easier to come to a single cross-border solution.
- Read the speech that Henk Don as then-chair of IRG-Rail gave on March 17, 2015 at the Conference on Passenger Rail Europe
IRG-Rail focuses on:
- adopting a uniform approach to freight corridors
- developing a test for the impact of international passenger transport
- promoting joint market monitoring
- giving advice on revising the European directives, ‘Recast’
- introducing a common application of tariffs
Rail regulators also work together with regard to freight corridors. Freight corridors are the most important freight transport rail routes in Europe. Three routes are of importance to the Netherlands. The corridor to Italy via Germany is one of the most important transport routes.
In addition, the corridors to Spain via Belgium and France, and to Poland offer the Netherlands much potential for strengthening the connections with its hinterland.
This collaboration aims at corridor-related developments. For example, ACM can, together with its counterparts, investigate a complaint from a transport undertaking on one of these corridors.
The rail regulators and the European Commission meet on a regular basis to discuss the latest developments, and to exchange experiences in decision-making. These vary from introducing new legislation to specific questions regarding access.