This measure needs to be approved by the EU Commission, which is at present preparing a legislative initiative on this matter. If all goes well Austria may introduce the reduced access charges this autumn.

Fachverband Schienenbahnen, an association of Austrian rail freight operators and part of the Austrian chamber of commerce, welcomes this measure but urges for a cut of at least 50% to ensure that rail freight remains competitive with road haulage. It adds that the cut should also be permanent and not just a temporary measure.

In addition, the Austrian government will support Rail Cargo Austria (RCA) by increasing the stock capital of the company by €61m. RCA has suffered from a 25% decrease in freight traffic as a result of the pandemic.