Threatened to be replaced by trucks from this summer, the train futures that connects Perpignan Rungis market got a reprieve Friday until the end of the summer and the government says it wants to sustain this rail link.
The rail link, which was to be interrupted at the end of June, will be finally maintained "at least until the end of the current high season", that is until the end of the summer, announced the Ministry of Transport in a statement Press.
The government insists that it wants to find "a sustainable rail solution by the end of the year, allowing the long-term transport of fruit and vegetables by rail", and indicates that to achieve this, a working group will meet every month until the end of the year.
The announcement of the replacement of this daily train by twenty trucks had caused an uproar, unions and politicians being outraged by this decision.
The contract passed by two carriers, Rey and Roca, with the SNCF to ensure this connection has indeed expired at the end of June and should not initially be renewed.
But the SNCF has proposed Friday during a meeting at the Ministry of Transport with the actors of the file "to extend the link until the end of the year to the current conditions of the contract, deadline beyond which the cars would be out use ".
Because it is the obsolescence of the refrigerated cars used on this line and the cost of their replacement is in question.
These are made available to Rey and Roca by the SNCF which does not own, and accuse their 40 years. It is up to the two carriers to pay for the introduction of new wagons.
The production period is two years, and the total investment amounted to 20 million euros. However, the depreciation would be uncertain, because of the lack of visibility for these companies on the activity of the line in the long term.
– Several solutions under study –
For its part, the government has expressed its desire to sustain this rail link, lamenting "the postponement of these goods on the road".
"While the modal shift from road to rail is a priority for the government, such a perspective can not be acceptable," said the Ministry of Transport.
Several solutions are thus studied to allow the freight trains to continue to circulate between Perpignan and Rungis.
"Some could be commissioned by the end of the year," according to the ministry, which cites for example the establishment of a combined transport link, allowing the containers to travel on trains.
The commissioning "by 2022" of a rail motorway, which consists of placing entire trucks on trains between Barcelona, Perpignan and Rungis, "was also mentioned".
The Rungis market was ready Monday to pay 300,000 euros to help Roca and Rey "temporarily rent" more modern cars.
The largest fresh food market in the world would be better off keeping the train: it had modernized its station ten years ago, an investment of 20 million euros made with the region, the General Council and the SNCF.
The Ile-de-France region said Friday, in a press release, that it "stands ready to mobilize financially to make the investments that would be necessary to contribute to a sustainable and economically viable solution."
This refrigerated train transports 400,000 tons of fruits and vegetables a year.