28 February 2018

Note regarding standby of rail freight transport due to weather conditions

Melzo (Milan), February 28th 2018


Contship Italia Group agrees with FerCargo stance (read here). The Italian Association of Freight Transport Railway Companies is questioning the limitations issued to all rail freight transport by the Rail Infrastructure Operator (Rete Ferroviaria Italiana). The limitations require a complete suspension of all freight transport via rail across the entire Italian rail network from 02.00am Thursday 1st of March, until “weather conditions improve”.

Contship Italia fully supports the stand taken by FerCargo, and agrees that the restriction issued is excessive – both in the timing and geographical scope. It is impossible to block an entire industry segment due to weather conditions – especially without a structured method and process of dealing with such issues, which for some Italian regions is fairly natural, rather frequent and predictable.

FerCargo underlines how, once again, making the comparison with neighboring European regions with whom we want to further develop strong partnerships, makes us blush with embarrassment. In the last week the Siberian temperatures and extreme weather conditions are hitting all European regions, without interrupting rail transportation – it is only in Italy, however, that blocking the entire rail transport industry seems to be the go-to solution.

Contship Italia Group wishes to add that blocking rail traffic will force over half a million tons of cargo onto the road, with the obvious negative consequences to the environment and consequential impact to road traffic – which is already strongly congested, giving no apparent advantage in terms of safety during extreme weather conditions.

Rail transportation has already taken a blow after the tragic Pioltello incident, and the entire industry is once again sounding an alarm, that underlines the gap between stated development objectives and the continuous operational and organizational issues industry players are suffering from.

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