Secondly, ORR says, 'Network Rail has significantly underestimated the scope for it to improve its efficiency in the next control period. Based on our analysis to date, Network Rail may be at least 30 per cent less efficient than the average of other European rail infrastructure managers.'
Both these factors have implications for freight operators in terms of the level of Track Access Charges operators will have to pay to use the network.
FTA's Head of Rail Freight Policy, Christopher Snelling commented, 'We fully support the ORR's analysis of the business plan. Network Rail has a long way to go to match the efficiency standards of rail infrastructure operators in other countries. It can and must do a lot more. If rail freight is to remain competitive with road, it is imperative that rail reduces its costs.'
ORR's assessment is contained in 'Update on the framework for setting outputs and access charges and strategic business plan assessment' published on 14 February. It is available at www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/351.pdf
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by rail, road, sea and air. FTA members consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. They also operate over 200,000 goods vehicles on road – almost half the UK fleet.