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In June 2013, DB Schenker Rail UK formally complained to the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) regarding what it perceived to be very significant barriers to competition in the markets for deepsea container (DSC) rail transport between key UK ports and certain inland destinations.

Following its ensuing competition investigation into DSC rail transport markets, in December 2015 the ORR published its decision to accept certain commitments offered by Freightliner Limited and Freightliner Group and close its investigation.  ORR’s preliminary view was that arrangements between Freightliner and its customers may be restricting competition with other rail freight operators for the shipping of goods between ports and key inland destinations. The ORR considers that the commitments address its competition concerns and that they will help to strengthen competition in the rail freight sector.

hile DB Schenker Rail UK acknowledges that enforcement of Freightliner’s commitments may give other rail freight operators increased opportunity to compete with Freightliner for the transport of deepsea containers, it remains concerned that the overall effect of the commitments will still be insufficient to resolve the serious competition problems that the ORR has uncovered in its investigation.  

Geoff Spencer, CEO at DB Schenker Rail UK, said: “We made the formal complaint because we want to see the relevant markets opened up and operating efficiently for the benefit of the industry.

“We welcome the ORR’s intervention and believe the commitments offered will go some way towards addressing certain inefficiencies within the market. However, we continue to have concerns regarding future competitiveness of the market, particularly in light of the capacity constraints at Felixstowe and Southampton as well as the fact that the commitments do not extend to Freightliner’s operations out of London Gateway.”