Major integrated rail systems outside Europe have significantly improved performance
Brussels/Munich, October 15, 2012
- Study looks at key rail markets outside Europe
- The rail systems examined make up 80% of global freight transportation by rail and 50% of passenger rail travel. All of them are integrated systems
- The integrated rail systems have significantly improved traffic volumes, productivity and investments
Today in Brussels, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants presented its new study on the structure of major rail systems outside Europe. Entitled "The optimal setup of a rail system – Lessons learned from outside Europe", the study analyzes rail structures in the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and China, which together account for 80% of global freight transportation by rail and 50% of passenger rail travel. The major railroads in these countries are all integrated systems: infrastructure operator and railway undertaking are combined in a single company. The Roland Berger study finds that these rail systems have significantly improved their traffic volumes, asset and personnel productivity and investments over the last ten years.
Roland Berger's analysis of international rail systems took place in the run-up to the Fourth European Railway Package. The study was trigged by the current debate about potential complete separation of infrastructure operators and rail transportation companies in Europe. Roland Berger experts examine the market situation in each of the non-European focus countries: the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and China. Together, these markets make up 80% of global freight transportation by rail and 50% of passenger rail travel.
"The countries are home to large, vertically integrated railroad companies," says Andreas Schwilling, Partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. "China is the only one that has attempted to introduce a vertical separation in the system. But negative results from pilot regions a good ten years back have led to a return to the old, integrated system."
All the rail systems investigated feature joint management of infrastructure and operations. In interviews carried out for the purpose of this study, managers from these railroads presented numerous arguments in favor of an integrated set-up, ranging from cost efficiencies and better customer service to the positive impact on the local rail industry.
Integrated rail systems have significantly improved their performance
The integrated rail systems investigated in the study have significantly improved their volume of traffic in the last ten years. Staff and asset productivity have also grown strongly. Punctuality of passenger transportation has improved or remained at a very high level.
An integrated model also has advantages when it comes to investing in assets. In most countries, investments at least doubled during the period examined. "The results show that integrated management of infrastructure and train operations is not an obstacle to improving a railroad's efficiency and performance," says Andreas Schwilling.
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