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SNCB to face no direct competition for next 10 years

07:39 27/11/2021

The SNCB’s monopoly on domestic rail travel in Belgium is set to be guaranteed for a further 10 years, federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet announced this week.

An important step has been taken to make SNCB the sole operator of passenger rail transport in Belgium for the next decade.

The federal government mobility agreement includes giving a central role to rail, and in this context, not to subject SNCB to competition from other passenger transport operators. To do this, Belgium must comply with a detailed European procedure.

Belgium's intention to award the public service contract directly to SNCB, without a competitive tender procedure, was published this week in the Official Journal of the European Union. This publication must take place one year before the actual award, which is scheduled for the end of 2022 at the latest.

"The step accomplished today is important, because it launches the formal procedure for the confirmation of SNCB’s status as single rail operator for the next 10 years, a sign of the federal government's confidence in the incumbent operator," Gilkinet said.

Negotiations are under way between the federal government, SNCB and Infrabel with a view to concluding a new public service contract for SNCB and a performance contract for Infrabel.

Written by Richard Harris