The closure of SNCF Fret will not go ahead

20 Dec 2023

The commission set up by the French parliament to investigate the French government’s decision to shut down SNCF Fret decides against the closure.

The ETF joins its French railway member organisations in welcoming this decision.

Livia Spera, ETF General Secretary said: ‘This saves jobs, it keeps freight on rail, and it takes us a step closer to meeting climate goals! We remind that in its 2020 Mobility Strategy, the European Commission commits that rail freight will increase 50% by 2030 and will double by 2050. Achieving these targets require investment in rail, and policy consistency from the EU side, two elements that have been lacking in the past years.’

In summer this year, the European Commission opened investigation into what they called ‘illicit state aid to SNCF Fret’. The French government rushed to respond to EC concerns, by swiftly deciding to shut down its rail freight carrier. A parliamentary commission was however tasked to look into the case and found, among others, that government plans to put an end to SNCF Fret dated way back in time. The closure was due to start in January 2024, it would have cost 500 jobs and the company being forbidden to participate in tenders for the next 10 years.

Ahead of the European elections, and of the European Commission adoption of its priorities for the upcoming term of office, the ETF will make sure there is a shift in policy interest: from a purely market-driven approach to a worker and climate-centric primacy.