Due to a fast-changing dynamics and constant developments in terms of recommendations and resolutions to deal with the issue, at different levels of governance, the economic impacts on the European railway system are still difficult to precisely measure.
The operation of our European railway systems implies multiple inner and inter-state exchanges. Knowing that MS – as well as its regions – are taking different measures accordingly to the severity of their specific cases, the operational issues for providers in the sector are diverse, but yet, highly connected due to the very nature of the sector. Despite this diversity, there are overall challenges that have been commonly faced by most providers across Europe.
On the demand side, transports are suffering with a substantial decrease that is already provoking important impacts on their cash flows. Eurostar has reported a substantial sales impact of -60%. Additionally, demands for tickets reimbursements are also expected to increasingly impose serious constraints for providers.
Regarding the supply-related obstacles, some of the main difficulties are:
- Creating a support system – with clear and efficient guidelines for action – for workers and clients.
- Timely responding to increasing recommendation and/or determinations by MS to lockdown certain regions and/or diminish pick-hour flows. Such measures require constant re-adaptations of timetables and working schedules.
- Staff shortages due to multiple reasons such as lack of public transportation, COVID-19 contaminations or suspects, and childcare.
- The management of staff – particularly of freight drivers that work across MS – and overall cross-border administration.
- Additional costs related to the specific sanitary measures required to contain the virus spread.
Government supporting initiatives targeting those enterprises also varies across Member States so far. As CEEP, we must reinforce the need to give special attention to the transport sector, which is extremely vulnerable under these circumstances.
You can find more information on CER’s activities on the following page, which is regularly updated: www.cer.be/covid-19-news