“We cannot understand RCA’s prices. They are putting us under massive pressure,” IMS chief executive Wolfgang Tomassovich told German media.
He claimed rates offered by RCA were only possible because it was a state-owned enterprise, ultimately backed by Austrian taxpayers.
On one route in particular – between Austria and the German port of Hamburg – Tomassovich said some of his customers were being quoted rates 15% below his by RCA for the same journey.
He claimed that RCA’s services to the major northern Europe ports were losing money, but RCA had budgeted for this simply in order to generate volumes it couldn’t get with more commercially viable rates.
For its part, RCA responded calmly to the criticism. A statement by the group said it was operating in a highly competitive intermodal market where each commercially-oriented company had to offer market prices. RCA had the benefit of a strong network with constant supply to meet customer demands.
“As with our competitors, pricing is based on the requirements of the market and the specific needs of the customer. RCA offers its customers a comprehensive network with continuous high-quality logistics solutions for domestic and international combined transport,” the statement read.
RCA is currently undergoing a “business turnaround” programme, in which each division, including combined transport, will have to demonstrate its profitability.
In addition, all railway companies in Austria are due to be awarded a new title of Public Service Enterprise, under which they will be able to apply for state assistance as part of the country’s process of getting more freight traffic to switch from road to rail.