Routing: Swinoujscie/Gdynia-Katowice-Ostrava/Žilina-Bratislava/Vienna/Klagenfurt-Udine - Venice/Trieste/Bologna/Ravenna/Graz-Maribor-Ljubljana-Capodistria/Trieste

Members: PKP (Poland); SŽ (Czech Republic); ŽSR (Slovakia); SŽ - Infrastruktura (Slovenia); ÖBB Infrastruktur (Austria); RFI (Italy)

Legal Form: European Economic Interest Grouping

Registered Office, Permanent Office and One Stop Shop: Mestre (Italy)

Website: https://www.rfc5.eu/

The Baltic-Adriatic Corridor covers a total length of 5,200 km of railway lines, linking the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea and involving approximately 80 multimodal terminals and maritime ports, which are offered potentially better access from industrial and economically advanced areas along the Corridor, such as Slesia, Ostravia, Vienna, Bratislava, Veneto and Bologna. 

The countries through which the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor passes have a GDP of approximately 2,900 billion euros (source: Eurostat 2020), with a population of approximately 125 million people.

The volumes of freight transported along the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor between Italy and Austria across the Tarvisio pass are shown in the table below (2018-2019 Alpinfo data):

 

2018

2019

Tarvisio Pass Total Freight Volume - Thousands of Tons

23,901.30

23,487.10

Tarvisio Pass Rail Freight Volume - Thousands of Tons

8,317.50

8,100.10

Tarvisio Pass modal share - Percentage

34.8%

34.5%

The rail traffic in Tarvisio has an intensity of approximately 110 trains per day (2020 RFI Business Plan 2018 data).

This data shows high intensity in freight transport with wide margins for growth for the railway sector, also in light of the increasingly pressing need to reduce road congestion, particularly when it comes to exchanges between Austria and Italy. 

According to the most reliable estimates, demand for freight transport along this route is expected to increase considerably over the next few years. The main factors are the growth in the GDP of former est Europe countries, the possibility of intercepting rail traffic with Asia - in particular China - and the growth in maritime ports resulting from world trade.

In this context, the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor has to face the challenges of rail transport which are key factors in choosing the mode of travel for transport end-users: fragmentation of the logistics chain, difficulty in finding information on the timely tracking of goods and the lack of reliability, which is reflected in punctuality levels with much room for improvement.

The approach of the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor has always been to establish itself as a platform for facilitating cooperation between all those operating in the logistics chain and to act as a provider of market intelligence. Considering the context in which the Corridor has been operating and reflecting on past experience, the operational strategy in recent years has been to focus on so-called "soft measures", i.e. experimenting with small projects, at relatively low cost, but with immediately measurable results. The advantages of this approach, apart from lower costs, are the possibility of immediately applying corrective actions or, if successful, immediately benefiting from the successes achieved, acting as a benchmark for other Corridors.

During 2020, the Transport Market Study (TMS), initially carried out in 2014, was updated in order to analyse freight traffic volumes and provide recommendations for developing the rail freight market along the Corridor.

In 2020, the Baltic-Adriatic Freight Corridor improved its performance in terms of rail capacity demand. In fact, the ratio of the volume of capacity requested to capacity offered increased compared to the previous year by 122 %, while the capacity demanded in absolute terms increased by 107 %. Furthermore, during 2020, the European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) has adopted a more customer-oriented approach by trying to diversify the capacity offer by introducing, for example, "Extra Long Train" paths from/to the port of Koper for the 2021 and 2022 timetables and, for the 2022 timetable, a couple of "Extra Heavy Train" paths from/to the port of Trieste and Villach, allowing heavy trains (up to 1800 t) to travel.

From a capacity supply standpoint, the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor is able to offer current train paths which may be requested up to 5 days prior to the train’s departure (under the regulation, so-called short-term capacity - reserve capacity - must be requested at least 30 days in advance).

The above are examples of the approach described above (soft measures).  In particular, the Corridor focuses on the quality of the offer rather than the quantity, by experimenting with a so-called premium offer for each train timetable and analysing the market response.

In terms of transport reliability, the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor has applied the so-called “Handbook for International Contingency Management (ICM)”, which defines the procedures to be implemented in the event of incidents impacting international rail traffic and to minimise their effects. In this context, the Corridor has organised annual simulations, one of which with the participation of the Railway Undertakings.

Finally, an extensive capacity study with an innovative approach was completed in 2021 to develop a simulator capable of designing an optimal capacity offer for different time scenarios, taking into account all factors affecting demand, supply and traffic management. The study was launched in 2020 following a regular tender procedure and a summary is available on the website of the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor.

Part of the future challenges is linked to obtaining EU funding made available under the European "Connecting Europe Facility" programme.

However, the future strategy of the Corridor includes improving the commercial offer in response to specific market demands and reducing dwell times at the border (specifically at Tarvisio) through concerted actions between infrastructure managers and railway companies. Another area for improvement concerns the procedures for coordinating capacity disruptions due to works. The Baltic-Adriatic Corridor intends to promote the integration of the logistics chain with increased involvement of Railway Undertakings and Terminals in managing contingencies and in improving punctuality, with optimum results in terms of the quality of the data underlying the statistics. 

Finally, the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor intends to contribute to developing innovative, modern communication and information tools, in particular by focusing on digitalising and integrating the various information systems.