Routing: Stockholm/Oslo/Trelleborg-Malmö-Copenhagen-Hamburg-Innsbruck- Verona-La Spezia /Livorno Ancona /Taranto /Augusta / Palermo
Members: BaneNOR (Norway); Trafikverket (Sweden); Øresundsbro Konsortiet (Sweden-Denmark); Banedanmark (Denmark); DB Netz (Germany); ÖBB Infrastruktur (Austria); RFI (Italy)
Legal Form: International Association under Austrian law
Registered office: Vienna (Austria)
One Stop Shop: Frankfurt (Germany)
Does not have a permanent office

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The Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor is a crucial axis for the European economy. The Corridor runs between Norway and Sweden in the north and reaches Italy in the south, passing through Denmark, Germany and Austria. The total area of the countries concerned is about 1.6 million km2, corresponding to about 40% of the total area of the European Union (EU).

The total length of the corridor is 7.527 km. Considering that as of 1 January 2023 the population of the EU27 + Norway countries amounted to approximately 454 million people and that their combined GDP in 2023 amounted to approximately EUR 17,411 billion, the countries belonging to the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor account for around 38% (approximately 174 million) of the EU27 + Norway population and produce approximately 46% (approximately EUR 8,055 billion) of the EU27 + Norway GDP (Eurostat data 2023).

Taking into account the geography of the trade relations between the countries involved, the Corridor can be divided into two macro-sections: the Northern Corridor, connecting the Scandinavian countries with Germany and the main markets in Central Europe, and the Southern Corridor connecting Germany to Italy via the Brenner Pass. The most important infrastructure projects are the Brenner Base Tunnel and the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link (submarine tunnel) between Denmark and Germany.

The total freight volumes transported along the corridor are, according to ScanMed RFC data (Market Study 2015 and ScanMed CNC Work Plan 2018), approximately 70 million tonnes with an expected growth of 25% in 10 years. The Italian “loading share” is 23%, second only to Germany (48%) and followed by Austria (18%). At the beginning of 2023, ScanMed RFC, in cooperation with the other Corridors and with the support of RailNetEurope (RNE), committed to developing a joint update of its individual market studies, based on common guidelines and methodologies defined as a result of a feasibility study for a European market study conducted in 2022 by RNE. 

The update involves three main steps. First, the study methodology was defined in agreement with RNE and the four sponsoring Corridors, including ScanMed RFC. Next, market analysis activities began, first involving an analysis of the current situation by means of a joint study and then the creation of forecasts for the different Corridors and the visualisation of the results, including recommendations for future actions. Finally, the project will provide updated market studies for all Corridors and a final report with considerations on the European rail network for more competitive freight transport. The study was launched in June 2023 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. It will serve as the basis for a general European transport study to be carried out from 2025 onwards.

The volumes of goods transported through the Brenner Pass along the Corridor are as follows (Alpinfo 2023):




Brenner Pass Total Freight Volume - Thousands of Tons



Brenner Pass Rail Freight Volume - Thousands of Tons



Brenner Pass modal share - Percentage



The constant focus on the market requires an increasing involvement of end customers in the supply chain. The Scandinavian-Mediterranean Freight Corridor therefore intends to simplify access to the network and the services offered to transport companies and shippers, in order to make the use of railways easier and more convenient. In this respect, the Terminal Integrated Capacity Offer (TICO) is an important product, which has grown from a pilot project into an integral part of the commercial offer of the Corridor involving an increasing number of terminals. The integrated commercial offer is currently being refined in consideration of the feedback from the railway undertakings.

In 2020, the second phase of the preliminary study “Longer and Heavier Trains”, aimed at estimating, for different time horizons, the capacity supply for the circulation of longer and heavier trains taking into account market developments and planned infrastructure investments, was completed.

A new market study on modal transport costs was completed in 2020 and provided an analysis of the costs of rail and intermodal transport along specific traffic relations in order to identify “key lessons learned” for the further development of the commercial offer and an improvement of market knowledge to facilitate the acquisition of new customers.

The Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor was the first European freight corridor to apply International Contingency Management (ICM), the international emergency management process shared by all European infrastructure managers in the event of unplanned disruptions to international rail traffic, on a real case basis. The procedure was applied on a real-life case for the management of the disruption of rail traffic that occurred on the Italian network along the Brenner adduction line in December 2020. In this case, the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor organised the ICM meetings during which the Infrastructure Managers and Corridors involved (RFI, ÖBB-I, DB Netz, SBB-I, Baltic-Adriatic Freight Corridor and Rhine-Alpine Freight Corridor) cooperated in order to identify the best options for re-routing the traffic affected by the disruption and to agree on a harmonised communication strategy towards the railway undertakings.

In order to improve the competitiveness and attractiveness of international freight transport on the Munich-Verona line, a Task Force coordinated by RFI, ÖBB-I and DB Netz was set up at the beginning of 2020 under the aegis of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor to improve traffic management and optimise capacity management.

The Task Force initiated and completed the evaluation of the European agreements (bilateral and trilateral) currently in force between the three Infrastructure Managers on traffic planning and management and identified actions for their rapid updating and extension that were tested during the pilot project during 2021. In parallel to carrying out the pilot phase, the Task Force aimed to involve the railway undertakings in the process to identify and implement actions under their direct responsibility.

The Munich-Verona line is a key link in the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor, of which the future Brenner Base Tunnel (due to become operational in 2032) will be a key strategic infrastructure for the efficient international transport of goods. Building on the positive results achieved in the pilot project, the Brenner Axis Task Force is developing actions applied to the southern section of the Corridor which, starting with the definition of a new optimised short-term planning procedure and the introduction of a new communication flow between the traffic control centres, have led to the implementation on a permanent basis of a structured system of periodic performance monitoring.

These operations were carried out to complement the activities of the Brenner Corridor Platform (BCP), an international organisation that works with experts to develop proposals concerning infrastructure improvement, train path management, terminal handling and issues of interoperability, logistics and environmental impact with a time perspective after the opening of the Brenner Base Tunnel. As recognised by the European Commission, this initiative represents a reference and best practice for other rail freight corridors, key routes and the European rail network in general.

Under the leadership of European Coordinator Pat Cox and the active contribution of the Corridor, and after an initial phase of consolidation, the BCP has begun to produce concrete results, primarily a common forecast of traffic flows for passengers and freight in 2030 and 2040. A second significant result was the assessment of the still available capacity of the railway lines for the same years, in order to identify bottlenecks and allow the development of appropriate corrective actions. Three working groups dedicated to infrastructure, operational and environmental issues and a pilot project aimed at overcoming the main obstacles to a seamless rail link between Verona and Munich were defined in 2022.

The experience gained on the Brenner Pass has encouraged the adoption of a similar model for the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link, which is scheduled to start operation in 2029. In September 2022, a first meeting of the so-called Femern Belt Forum took place, a new platform that brings together all parties interested in the optimal management of the planned work on this infrastructure project: the European Commission; the ministries of transport of Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway; the infrastructure managers DB Netz, Banedanmark, Trafikverket and BaneNor; the company in charge of constructing the work - Femern A/S; the Øresund Bridge consortium; ScanMed CNC and ScanMed RFC; railway undertakings, ports, terminals, and all other interested stakeholders.

In January 2023, all these actors launched the Femern Belt Platform to formalise cooperation on the ground. In the following months, representatives of the European Commission, Femern A/S and ScanMed RFC discussed and drafted a draft memorandum of understanding for consideration by the Platform Steering Committee. The Corridor played a key role in these discussions, acting as a driving force. In October, the Board of Directors of the Corridor formally approved the memorandum of understanding, which in turn was endorsed by the other actors involved. The protocol was signed in December, making the platform officially operational as of January 2024.

Despite efforts to improve traffic on the Germany - Scandinavia axis through the construction of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link, it is important to note that even after the opening of the tunnel, the region will still have two bottlenecks, the Øresund and the Great Belt. Therefore, in the coming years it will be appropriate to consider how to tackle these obstacles, without excluding the possibility of creating an additional Fixed Link under the Øresund.

Future challenges also include the development of an ERTMS Implementation Plan as part of the overall ScanMed RFC Implementation Plan, which will take place in 2024-2025. To prepare for this task, the Corridor set up an ad-hoc working group consisting of experts from the infrastructure managers. The group will meet for the first time at the end of January 2024 with the aim of starting to regularly collect and publish the progress and future developments of the ERTMS implementation along the Corridor. 

Scandinavian Mediterranean Freight Corridor organizational scheme 2023