The rail freight corridors are to be the backbone of transport on the single European market and are to revolutionise connections among European regions. Such a role will also be fulfilled by the rail freight corridors running through Poland: Rail Freight Corridor 5 Baltic – Adriatic (RFC5), as well as Rail Freight Corridor 8 North Sea – Baltic (RFC8).
Launching the freight corridors enables PLK to provide the railway undertakings operating on the international market with the new offer. This offer is based on the activity of the corridor one-stop shop (C-OSS) by offering pre-arranged paths (PaPs) and the reserve capacity. An applicant will submit a path request and receive an answer at one place within one operation for the trains crossing at least one border within one rail freight corridor.
The establishment of a rail freight corridor obliges railway infrastructure managers to provide high quality services in international freight transport to railway undertakings.
Poland joined the European Union countries which had already been operating rail freight corridors. The open freight corridor will lead to larger cargo flow between industry centres along the corridor. It will also increase the attractiveness of the international railway corridors. The network of freight corridors is a chance to meet the business needs of railway undertakings, shippers, logistic operators, owners, and managers of reloading terminals.
Rail Freight Corridor 5 Baltic – Adriatic will connect the Polish ports with those of the Adriatic Sea. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia and Italy were involved in its implementation. Rail Freight Corridor 8 North Sea – Baltic implemented by Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic is going to serve as a connection between Eastern and Western Europe. After the implementation of the corridors these countries will ensure their smooth operation.
PLK has initiated the cooperation of countries which Rail Freight Corridor Baltic – Adriatic and Rail Freight Corridor North Sea – Baltic pass through. In order to properly prepare the launch of the corridors and ensure their smooth operation, international management bodies and dedicated working groups, in which infrastructure manager representatives are taking part, have been set up for each corridor. PLK is also providing offices that have been established.
In January 2016 C-OSS of both corridors, which go through Poland, will publish pre-arranged paths offers. By April freight railway undertakings will have to decide which of these paths they are going to use. As a result, the first corridor trains will be in operation by December 2016 – i.e. from the next timetable. Publishing the PaPs will guarantee the harmonisation of the run time on the border-crossings as well as usage of paths suitable for freight transport.
The rail freight corridors are part of the existing railway network. The improvement of the Polish railway network parameters is being carried out through the investment which has been included in the National Railway Programme accepted in September 2015. According to the National Railway Programme, PLN 67 billion (around 15 billion euros) will have been invested by 2023. This enormous amount will enable PLK to finish the work on passenger lines but first and foremost to focus on the improvement of conditions for freight railway undertakings by removing several local speed limits as well as eliminating bottlenecks particularly affecting Upper Silesia, Zaglebie, Eastern border, and port stations in Gdansk, Gdynia, Szczecin, and Swinoujscie.
The expected results at the end of the current financial perspective are to double the average trade speed for freight transport, reaching the network effect – i.e. the longest possible and inter-correlated sections, with the parameters suitable for customer needs.
Information on the corridor offer will be published on the website of the corridor as well as in the Corridor Information Document – CID. The RFC5 website: www.rfc5.eu, the RFC8 website:www.rfc-northsea-baltic.eu.