How far has open access enabled the growth of cross border pan European rail freight? A case study

Thomas Hagen Zunder, Dewan Md Zahurul Islam, Phil N. Mortimer, Paulus Teguh Aditjandra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyses the extent to which an open access rail freight market has enabled new pan European rail freight services, using a case study within the context of policy. Methodology was: desk top analysis of European Union freight policy, from the Railway Directives, through successive White Papers, to the recent 2011 White Paper; review of rail freight market performance; semi-structured interviews with rail regulators; operational records from a novel, cross-border rail freight service from Western Europe to the Black Sea. Evidence to date is mixed. The research finds that new entrants can operate within imperfect open access environment, facing many barriers from incumbents, infrastructure managers, rail regulators, and terminal operators. Examples of issues are: infrastructure discrimination; non-transparent or liberalised energy supply; monopolistic shunting services; safety certification; terminal access restricting trade; weak or discriminatory regulatory authorities. The research identified key barriers: trust between partners, wagon availability, lack of single European driver certification and access to non-path infrastructure and services. The pilot was successful and is commercially viable, and succeeded in a hybrid block and single wagon-load train service, integrating new private entrants and Eastern state railways. The research identified a research agenda and implications for practitioners and policy makers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Transportation Business and Management
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Logistics
  • Rail freight
  • Railways
  • Transport policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Business and International Management
  • Transportation
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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