While on a visit to Limoges, the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, and Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebarri have announced the reopening of the rail freight line Rungis-Perpignan in October, as part of the recovery plan.
As indicated by AFP, the line that should reopen mid-October, is part of the government’s plan of 1 billion euros [1.2 billion USD] until 2024 to develop rail freight.
“We will present the finance act for 2022 in which we will announce the extension of a number of aid for freight,” explained Jean Castex, after last week’s announcement of an annual aid to rail freight of 170 million euros [199 million USD].
The prime minister added that “half of the 100 billion planned” had already been committed and that the goal was to “reach 70% by the end of 2021.”
“We have illustrated here the rail component of this recovery plan, which is an extremely active component for freight, for the reopening of night trains, for the reopening of small lines or the maintenance of small lines, and to open up cities such as Limoges.”
In December, the government had called for a demonstration in favor of reopening - then expected in the summer of 2021 - of the “produce train”, a line between Perpignan and Rungis to transport fruit and vegetables in refrigerated wagons. The line had been closed since the summer of 2019.
“The sanitary crisis has highlighted the absolute need to have supply channels for food products which are rapid, efficient and sustainable,” according to the Ministry of Transport.
This line connects the Saint-Charles International platform of Perpignan, first marketing, transport and logistics center for fruit and vegetables in Europe, to the market of Rungis (Val-de-Marne), presented as the largest market in the world for fresh produce.
A combined transport solution (trucks or truck crates are loaded on the trains) had been considered in late 2019 between Perpignan and the multimodal platform of Valenton (Val-de-Marne), located a few km from Rungis, but it was not implemented because the carriers did not find the schedules convenient.