Regulation (EU) No 913/2010 of the European Parliament and the Council concerning a European rail network for competitive freight lays down the rules for the establishment and organization of international rail corridors for competitive rail freight. It sets out the rules for the selection, organization, management and investment planning of rail freight corridors.
There have been a number of initiatives for establishing a rail freight corridor covering the Western Balkan region:
In June 1997 a Pan-European Corridor X with the route Salzburg/Graz/Budapest – Belgrade -Thessaloniki/Sofia was established. In 2001 ARGE Korridor X was founded as an Austrian co-operation constituted under civil law in order to push railway subjects on the Pan-European Corridor X in close co-operation between the railway organizations from Greece to Germany. In 2008/2009 ARGE Corridor X transformed into Association Corridor X PLUS, which was a corridor association with legal entity in Austria. Between 2012 and 2018 preparations for a transformation into a Rail Freight Corridor were being made.
Following the joint efforts of the respective Ministries and Infrastructure Managers (ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, SŽ–Infrastruktura, d.o.o., HŽ Infrastruktura d.o.o., Infrastruktura železnice Srbije a.d. and National Railway Infrastructure Company) from AUSTRIA, BULGARIA, CROATIA, SERBIA and SLOVENIA and in line with the Regulation (EU) No 913/2010 and the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/500 of 22 March 2018, the Alpine-Western Balkan Rail Freight Corridor is being established.
Mission and vision
- Creation of an international rail market that is an essential factor in making progress towards sustainable mobility
- Shift to Rail: creating competition with other modes of transport, especially regarding providing efficient international and national rail freight services
- Creating better interconnections with the rail infrastructure of European third countries
- Providing continuity along the corridors by enabling interconnections between existing railway structure
- Integration and harmonization of the rail freight corridors into the existing trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and /or the European Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and harmonization of processes
- Connecting the land bridge from China / Kazakhstan / Azerbaijan / Turkey / with Western Europe through the Western Balkans and Austria.
- Serving the multimodal traffic arriving from Greek ports Piraeus and Thessaloniki to Western-Europe
- Ensuring non-discriminatory access to intermodal rail services
- Creating a corridor investment plan in accordance with a corridor-wide elaborated Transport market study (TMS) focusing on near future market developments
- Meeting the needs and expectations of all the users of the freight corridor
- Establishment of Corridor One stop shop (C-OSS) as a single joint body for applicants to request and receive answers in a single place and in a single operation
- Addressing infrastructural and operational bottlenecks
- Reduction of dwell times at borders
AWB RFC facts and figures:
- Five countries: Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria
- Five cooperating infrastructure managers: ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, SŽ–Infrastruktura, d.o.o., HŽ Infrastruktura d.o.o., Infrastruktura železnice Srbije a.d. and National Railway Infrastructure Company
- Corridor length: 2,152 km
- Corridor covers 19 intermodal terminals and 12 marshalling yards