The French National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC) published in 2020 seems to be a halt in terms of ambition regarding the development of rail freight. However, this mode of transport has undeniable assets to play an important role in the transition to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. In this context, the Rail Freight Development Strategy can be used to explore transition paths that will enable the sector to regain its ambition and thus help to identify the changes that need to be envisaged in its fundamental determinants/drivers in order to achieve this ambition; it can also guide the identification of the action levers to be implemented to induce these necessary changes and thus inform the decisions to be taken in order to achieve the ambition.

Key Messages

  • To set an ambitious course for the sector, SDFF should define a modal share target for 2030 and 2050 that is consistent with carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • To know what drivers are needed to attain the objective, SDFF should clarify the context in which the sector is evolving, particularly the transformation of types of goods, the organization of logistics chains, expectations regarding transport services and alternative options.
  • To guide the dynamic management of the transition in an uncertain context, the SDFF should explore several alternatives and assess their impact on the development opportunities for rail freight.
  • This new strategy, defined through regulatory channels, should enable the opening of a public and parliamentary debate on the actions and decisions to be taken in support of an effective increase in the modal share of rail freight by 2050.
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