French toll rise hits Chunnel rail freight

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Rail freight through the Channel Tunnel fell by 27 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, according to first half figures from Eurotunnel.

The tonnage of goods fell from 404,072 tonnes in the second quarter of 2011 to 296,499 tonnes this year, while the number of freight trains was down from 687 to 565.

For the first half the number of freight trains using the tunnel was down ten per cent to 1,154 while the tonnage of goods carried was down 14 per cent to 609,555 tonnes.

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Eurotunnel said: “The ten per cent decrease in the number of rail freight trains using the Tunnel in the first half of 2012 to 1,154 is the combined result of the impact of the short-term transport of the steel during the first half of 2011 and the introduction of the extra toll imposed by Réseau Ferré de France at Frethun on each operator passing through the tunnel which has slowed the momentum in growth of rail freight traffic.”

In contrast, truck shuttles were up 20 per cent to 1,048,719 for the first half.

Total sales were up 14 per cent 473m euros, while trading profit was up six per cent to 129m euros.

Chairman and chief executive officer Jacques Gounon said: “This first half year has been very satisfactory: traffic has continued to grow in a highly competitive market due to a distinct service offering. The financial performance is sound, generating a very good level of cash-flow.”

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