New legislation passed by the European Commission has made it mandatory to create a European rail network for competitive freight based on international freight corridors.

The EU regulation will enable the creation of nine rail freight corridors linking the main industrial regions of Europe.

European Commission vice-president Siim Kallas said that the corridors, along with one-stop shops and increased cooperation, would allow rail freight providers to attract additional customers and become more competitive.

Shippers and combined transport operators will be allowed to request capacity over the freight corridors to meet their logistic needs through one-stop shops; the quality levels of the supply of rail infrastructure services will be also be reviewed.

The regulation is expected to boost cross-border cooperation and leverage existing initiatives to modernise rail infrastructure and deploy the European rail traffic management system.

The legislation will come into force on 9 November 2010.