Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Monitors for Undersea Cross Channel Rail Freight and Passenger Access

Le Shuttle Excluded as Regulators Strive to Avoid More Legal Complexities
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – UK – As of June 16, French rail regulator, Autorité de Régulation des Activités Ferroviaires (Araf) and its British counterpart, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) have taken over the responsibility of monitoring the conditions of access and the tariffs for the Channel Tunnel, from the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC). Passenger and freight Le Shuttle services operated by Eurotunnel are the only exception from the two authorities’ scope as the organisation is excluded from most EU rail rules including on-track access charging.

The ICG will continue with its other responsibilities with regards to the Tunnel, including issues surrounding safety and security, but the economic matters needed to be transferred to the two national regulators in order to comply with a European directive which requires independent economic regulation to be provided by both France and Britain.

With a cooperation like this, both sides hope to avoid disagreements and legal territory disputes seen rampant in the MyFerryLink dispute where matters of jurisdiction became a major part of the case and, to an impartial observer, often appeared as regulators taking national interests into account.