Routing: Almería-Valencia/Algeciras/Madrid-Zaragoza/Barcelona-Marseille-Lyon-Turin-Milan-Verona -Padua/Venice-Trieste/Capodistria-Ljubljana-Budapest Ljubljana/Fiume -Zagabria-Budapest-Zahony (Hungarian-Ukranian border);

Members: ADIF (Spain), Línea Figueras Perpignan (Spain-France), SNCF Réseau (France), Oc’Via (France), RFI (Italy), SŽ - Infrastruktura (Slovenia), MÁV (Hungary); VPE (Hungary), e HŽ Infrastruktura (Croatia).

Legal Form: European Economic Interest Grouping

Registered Office, Permanent Office and One Stop Shop: Milan.

Website: https://www.railfreightcorridor6.eu

The Mediterranean Corridor is the most important east-west freight route in Europe, spanning more than 7,779 km from Spain to the edge of the European Union, linking the Mediterranean Basin with Central Europe and the Ukraine, one of the main points of access to the Silk Road Belt.

For this reason, the Mediterranean Corridor has great potential for acquiring a significant share of the Europe-Asia traffic flows currently carried by ship, with the significant potential impact of increasing the share of European rail transport and a consequent reduction in environmental externalities (reduction of gaseous emissions and reduction in road congestion).

In its route from East to West, the Mediterranean Corridor is interconnected with another seven Rail Freight Corridors and crosses 3 of the 4 main manufacturing areas in Europe: Catalonia, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Piedmont-Lombardy. The countries through which the Mediterranean Corridor passes have a GDP of approximately 5,300 billion euros (source: Eurostat 2020), with a population of approximately 190 million people. The Corridor connects over 100 intermodal terminals, 5 of the main Maritime Ports in the Mediterranean and 2 important river ports (Lyon and Budapest).

For Italy, the Mediterranean Corridor is an important logistics link to France to the west and to Slovenia to the east, crossing some of the most economically advanced Italian regions, including the ports of Venice and Trieste.

With regard to exchanges between Italy and France, the volumes of freight transported across the Frejus pass are shown in the table below (2018-2019 Alpinfo data):

 

 2018

2019

Modane Pass Total Freight Volume - Thousands of Tons

14,452.5

14,462.00

Modane Pass Rail Freight Volume - Thousands of Tons

2,635.1

2,863.70

Modane Pass modal share - Percentage

18.2%

19.8%

These figures shown a high intensity of freight transport, albeit not comparable to the Swiss and Austrian passes, with wide growth margins for the railway sector in light of the increasingly pressing need to eliminate road congestion, especially when it comes to exchanges between France and Italy.

The Mediterranean Freight Corridor was made operational in 2013 in line with the deadlines indicated in Regulation 2010/913.

Since its inception, the Mediterranean Corridor has seen a steady increase in the ratio of capacity requested to capacity offered, stabilising at around 45% in recent years, a sign of the corridor's ever-important role as a one stop shop for providing standardised international capacity (C-OSS).

TT = timetable; LTL = late path request. TT2015 22%; TT 2016 25%; TT 2017 27%; TT 2018 33%; TT 2019 30% and 34% after LPR; TT 2020 24%

Over the years, the Mediterranean Corridor has contributed considerably to improving international cooperation between its Infrastructure Managers and the Capacity Allocation Body (in Hungary there is a separation in roles), culminating in the important Conference held in Zagreb in 2017. During the conference, the respective CEOs signed a Letter of Intent outlining a series of specific measures aimed at strengthening the development of international freight transport.

One of the Corridor's tasks is to periodically update a market study on observed and expected traffic trends along its route. The Corridor carried out a first study in 2013, which was subsequently updated in 2016, when Croatia became part of the Corridor. The market study contains a series of modal shift projections over the medium and long-term according to some crucial factors in modal choice (e.g. cost of rail and road transport, infrastructure development, etc.). In 2020, in collaboration with the Ten-T Mediterranean Corridor, the Corridor produced a new study with an analysis of the traffic on the Corridor and future development scenarios on the basis of forecasts of development in certain economic factors and transport policies. 

In 2017, the Corridor also completed a study on the last rail mile, aimed at identifying the main infrastructure measures needed to boost the performance of the logistics chain with regard to connections between infrastructure manager and terminals.

Since 2019, the Working Group on Train Performance Management (TPM) has met with the Railway Undertakings operating along the Corridor twice a year, with the aim of:

  • better understanding development in the rail transport market and its needs,
  • identifying shortcomings and the possible corrective action,
  • carrying out joint analyses of the main problems in the railway sector along the Corridor, particularly with regard to cross-border transits.

The various studies carried out by the Corridor in recent years include the "Boost on Rail" study developed in 2019 in collaboration with Federchimica, which aims to identify the factors considered by the chemical sector to be decisive in terms of modal shift.  

In 2020, the Mediterranean Corridor carried out a Pilot Project on the implementation of an end-to-end international rail transport control and monitoring function on a sample of bi-national and tri-national traffic routes. 

The main aims of the project were the following:

  • proactive involvement of all players in the Railway Supply Chain (Infrastructure Managers, Intermodal Terminals and Industrial Junctions) together with other important stakeholders (RailNet Europe - RNE, Industrial Associations and End Users) in monitoring trains in real time on a small selection of routes;
  • improving the data quality of the European systems for monitoring rail traffic, including data on the activities of arriving and departing terminals;
  • regular production of punctuality reports for the flows monitored, shared with all those involved, with the aim of identifying improvement measures and establishing punctuality targets able to increase the amount transported. 

Activities to improve traffic at borders

Villa Opicina Task force

Since September of 2020, due to works scheduled to be carried out on the Karavanke Tunnel (on the Slovenia – Austrian border), part of the Koper – Villach traffic has been diverted via Villa Opicina/Tarvisio, with consequent problems with the management of the Villa Opicina plant and the terminals and plants in the areas on both sides of the border. In response to a 32% increase in traffic at the Italian-Slovenian border crossing, the Mediterranean Freight Railway Corridor has coordinated a task force made up of Italian and Slovenian Infrastructure Managers with the aim of jointly monitoring the planning and operational management of freight traffic, sharing the rules for managing cross-border traffic and setting up a round table with Railway Companies to share actions to improve punctuality on the crossing.
Click here for more details


Modane task force

At the border between Italy and France at the Modane facility, the Corridor has launched the Quality Circle Operation (QCO) initiative with the involvement of RFI and SNCF Réseau, aimed at reducing transit times by identifying joint initiatives with the railway companies, not least in view of the construction of the new Turin-Lyon link.

Among the future challenges of the Mediterranean Corridor is certainly that of continuing to pursue the modal shift towards rail transport, in accordance with European objectives, such as the transfer from road to rail of a modal share of 30% by 2030. 

In line with what has already been started in 2020 and 2021, in the medium term the Mediterranean Rail Freight Corridor will concentrate its efforts on:

  • improving traffic at the border, focusing on actions aimed at developing greater interoperability and ensuring regular monitoring of traffic in order to identify and implement corrective actions to decrease transit times and ensure greater transport reliability;
  • improving performance monitoring with a focus on improving data reliability and greater computerisation of information management;
  • developing an international capacity offer increasingly in line with end-user needs, extending the offer with greater coordination with terminals and ports.