Rail users complain about the cost of the railroad and the lack of competitiveness of their terminals

A survey by the CNMC shows the lack of confidence of the market towards the railway mode.

A report from the National Commission of Markets and Competition, based on direct consultation with the representatives of the users and the rail transport companies, shows the lack of confidence that the market gives to this mode. The survey was aimed at two large groups: railway companies (11 in total, including associations); and users (20 companies or associations). The questions have been related to the quality of the services received, the problems of access to the merchandise terminals, and the advantages and disadvantages of the rail mode with respect to others, in particular, road transport. The answers highlight the difficulties faced by rail transport to be an alternative to road transport.

Thus, of the aspects consulted, almost in its entirety, users are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, with an average score of 1.8 points out of five. From these answers it evident that rail transport is only an appropriate option for very specific market niches. This can be assigned to multiple factors. First of all, there is a consensus that the railroad must gain economic competitiveness to be an alternative to the road as at the moment it is only considered appropriate for large volumes and long distances. To achieve this, the representatives of the users point out the need for longer trains (750 meters) as well as the achievement of a minimum critical mass, which could be achieved by developing competitive freight corridors that increase the volume of cargo transported, offering options to the end users.

Another one of the complaints refers to the scarce flexibility offered by the railway companies in the face of changes in the volume of cargo, as well as in the services offered in terms of frequencies and destinations, which can be assigned to the limitations in available the infrastructure. In relation to this aspect, users indicate that they face significant costs to increase the capillarity of the rail network through the construction of private loaders.

For railway companies, there is a negative perception of both the current situation and the future of the market given its evolution with respect to the road. The indices of dissatisfaction increase in relation to the slots and the restrictions of capacity.

In addition to the capacity of the network, the freight railroad requires facilities to process the cargo. Terminals in charge of a third party have a greater degree of satisfaction than those managed by Adif or those located in port facilities. The railway companies indicate that their schedules are inflexible and have limited means. There also seems to be a generalized opinion contrary to the risk and venture model applied by Adif for the management of merchandise terminals.

Source: El Vigia