Eurotunnel to run freight service

28th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 28 (AFP) - Eurotunnel, the company that operates a rail link connecting France and England through the Channel, has received authorisation to begin freight service, the French government said Thursday.

PARIS, Oct 28 (AFP) - Eurotunnel, the company that operates a rail link connecting France and England through the Channel, has received authorisation to begin freight service, the French government said Thursday.

The transportation ministry said it had granted a security certificate to Europorte 2, Eurotunnel's freight subsidiary.

"The issuance of this security certificate is the final agreement needed by Europorte 2," the ministry said in a statement.

Eurotunnel carries trucks on its rail shuttle service but freight trains through the tunnel are operated by other companies, whose payments are fixed until November 2006.

Europorte 2, which has yet to be granted "slots" by the national rail network operator Reseau Ferre de France (RFF), plans to run a maximum of five trains a week each way between its Calais-Frethun terminal in northern France and the Swiss border, the ministry said.

The government officially opened rail freight to competition in March 2003 but no rival to state-owned SNCF has appeared on the French network.

In its third quarter results statement, Eurotunnel earlier this month said its rail freight tonnage rose seven percent 472,163 from 442,222 tonnes a year earlier, while the number of trucks using its shuttles dropped four percent to302,445 from 314,133.

Freight trains through the tunnel are operated by the SNCF and by privately-owned English, Welsh and Scottish Railways.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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