Incentive Based port railway tariff system (INES)

Project information

Index: 0778R2
Priority:2: Environment and risk prevention
Sub Theme:Energy and sustainable transport
Location GERMANY HAMBURG Hamburg Hamburg Start/End date of the practice
Start: 01.01.2008
End: Ongoing

Topic of the practice

Efficient use of existing infrastructure to weaken bottlenecks and support growth of sustainable hinterland railtransports by indruducing incentive based tariff systems.

Good Practice Information

The goal of the incentive based tariff system is to reduce production times and with that to offer more capacity on the existing infrastructure. Efficient producing railway undertakings benefit from lower prices. The rail infrastructure company benefits from more capacity on same infrastructure and lower investments into new infrastructure.
The system gives incentives by different prices to reduce parking time of rail freight wagons. Therefore the network is divided into different categories which are orientated on the traffic meaning. In each category there is a limited time of free use. Afterwards every wagon has to pay a specific price per hour. Railway undertakings that are able to produce their freight wagons within this free time only have to pay basic prices for general infrastructure use.
For implementation it is necessary to provide an IT-system which gives you the information about where and when trains and wagons come in and when they leave the track. Mostly an already installed infrastructure operating system can be connected with this task. Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) started the system in 2008, making some major changes in 2009 and 2011.

Evidence of success

Before 2008 the Port of Hamburg was known as Europe’s biggest parking lot for rail wagons. 6% extreme long parking wagons used more than 43% of the available infrastructure. With the new tariff system the amount of extreme long parking wagons was reduced to fewer than 2% using 7% of the available infrastructure in 2009.
Port of Rotterdam and Port of Bremen installed similar rail tariff systems after inspection of the HPAs system.

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Mathias Krüger / Daniel Bischof

Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) /

Annex completed on: 03-28-2012

As of 31 December 2015, this website is no longer updated. Follow news on interregional cooperation at