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Why join?



Because it promotes the territorial and socio-economic cohesion of the regions of the Atlantic Arc, reinforcing the Atlantic Rail Corridor (ARC) which connects the Atlantic coastal regions that belong to the Atlantic Arc Commission (Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland and United Kingdom) as well as Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and its southern and northern extensions (the ports of Algeciras and Morocco in the south, and the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam and Northern and Eastern Europe in the north). In the east it connects with the Lyon-Ljubljana-Budapest axis up to the Ukranian border (Kiev) and the Berlin-Warsaw axis up to the Byelorussian border (Minsk).
The Atlantic Arc has an estimated population of more than 80 million (25% of the eurozone population), including twelve urban agglomerations with more than 1 million inhabitants such as the European capitals of Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, the Hague, London and Dublin. For Lisbon and Madrid, this corridor represents the shortest route to Paris, London, Berlin, Northern and Eastern Europe and Russia.
  • From an economic perspective, the Atlantic Arc accounts for between 30 and 40% of the eurozone GDP: over 2 trillion euros.
  • There are more than sixty ports along the corridor (Seville, Sines, Lisbon, Porto, Vigo, Gijón, Santander, Bilbao, Bayonne, Bordeaux, Nantes-Saint Nazaire, Lorient, Brest, Saint-Malo, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Dunkirk…) which handle an annual volume of traffic in excess of 650 million tonnes. The figure is even greater when we factor in the traffic handled by major ports in the corridor’s extensions, such as Algeciras, Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam and Hamburg.
  • It is estimated that the corridor is currently used to transport around 100 billion tonnes-km of freight annually.
Given this reality, there currently exists a significant modal imbalance which needs to be gradually redressed in favour of more sustainable modes and rail/maritime transport in particular. For example, approximately 50% of freight traffic between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe takes place along the Atlantic corridor. However, only 1% of this traffic takes place by rail and only 16% by sea. The remaining 83% takes place by road, which has not only saturated the road infrastructure but brought the system to a standstill and demonstrated its unsustainability.


At the end of 2010 the Atlantic Arc Commission Transport Group (AATG) and the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR), spearheaded by the Basque government’s Transport Department, created a working group on the Atlantic Rail Corridor (ARC). The group submitted a proposal entitled “PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ATLANTIC RAIL FREIGHT CORRIDOR NETWORK” (ARC-PDARFCN) to the third call for applications of the transnational cooperation programme Atlantic Area 2007-2013. The application was approved at the end of 2011 as Project No. 2011-1/155 within the framework of the INTERREG IV-B ATLANTIC AREA funding programme and was allocated a maximum contribution of € 858,467.17, which represents 65% of the total project cost eligible for funding: € 1,320,718.75. The development of the ARC-PDARFCN led in turn to the creation of the ATLANTIC CORRIDOR DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (ATCDA), entrusted with the mission of promoting the efficient and sustainable development of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor.
Meanwhile in Spain, on 14 October 2011 representatives of the autonomous communities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Navarre and Castile-Leon gathered in Valladolid and signed the “Institutional Declaration of Support for the Atlantic Freight Corridor”, which advocated the inclusion of the Atlantic Corridor in the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
The European Commission has introduced a Financial Regulation which obliges the member states to define the actions they intend to undertake. In the case of Spain, the government has submitted a detailed table listing all the actions that will have to be undertaken to meet the specifications of the Core Network. These actions will represent an investment of over 49.8 billion euros between 2014 and 2020.
All the corridors approved by the Commission are multimodal. In other words, they include ports, airports, nodes and logistics platforms as well as production centres, all connected to passenger and freight road and/or rail axes (and fluvial axes where appropriate) to guarantee complete interoperability. The multimodality and interoperability of the corridors are crucial to efficiency and sustainability, resulting in cost savings for business and, ultimately, more growth and economic development. The system will also eliminate bottlenecks and promote sustainability by reinforcing rail transport, the most environmentally friendly mode.


The ATCDA aims are as follows:
  • Boosting the development of the rail infrastructure for transporting freight along the Atlantic Corridor and fostering rail/maritime transport.
  • Efficiently coordinating the planning and implementation of different actions in the Atlantic Freight Corridor.
  • Making recommendations to improve the quality, competitiveness and efficiency of rail services.
  • Promoting rail and maritime transport as complementary modes to road transport.
  • Contributing to the interoperability of rail transport rolling stock, services and operators.
  • Boosting the development and coordination of transport nodes, logistics platforms and intermodal terminals, especially at port locations.
  • Liaising between public and private-sector actors, natural persons and corporations involved and interested in developing the Atlantic Corridor.
  • Contributing to the creation of a network of actors to promote a shared vision of the development and potential of the Atlantic Corridor to EU institutions and member states.
These aims will be achieved, following compliance with the appropriate legal requirements, through the activities outlined below:
  • Monitoring the aforementioned infrastructure actions along the Atlantic rail corridor via different planning instruments which are either already in place or in the process of implementation.
  • Analysing and reporting on the current situation of the Atlantic Corridor rail network, including both the technical aspects and the intermodal services offered.
  • Making recommendations to improve the current situation and the forecasts contained in the planning instruments.
  • Suggesting actions to optimise multimodal platforms and existing intermodal services and defining new efficient and competitive intermodal services for multimodal logistics platforms.
  • Developing the ability to influence via the internet, developing the association’s promotional website.
  • Encouraging the relevant authorities to play an active role in developing and promoting the Atlantic Corridor.


Membership of the ATCDA is open to all businesses, organisations and institutions in the EU, neighbouring countries and the wider world that are interested in improving rail infrastructures, optimising connections between ports and airports and their respective hinterlands, implementing “ATCDA standards”, launching new exploitation systems and effectively introducing free competition in the rail freight network of the EU and neighbouring countries.


  • Accelerated public investment in the principal corridors of the EU rail freight network, including efficient connections with ports and airports and the effective implementation of free competition.
  • Activities associated with new business opportunities for ATCDA members (increasing the “critical mass” to improve competitiveness).
  • The chance to participate in decision-making meetings and working groups.
  • An efficient channel for ATCDA members to present ideas and requests to the relevant regional, national and European institutions and authorities and the Union for the Mediterranean.
  • Participation in the ATCDA Forum and the dissemination of members’ business activities via the ATCDA website and the association’s public events.
  • Guided tours of the building works associated with new lines or the upgrading of existing lines on the main rail corridors.
  • Attendance at ATCDA conferences and public presentations of the Atlantic Corridor project.
  • The chance to participate in events organised by other ATCDA members.
  • A forum for sharing new ideas, perspectives and knowhow with other ATCDA members.
  • Participation in surveys promoted and undertaken by the association.
  • Participation in the analyses of government plans and public debates related to rail infrastructures, exploitation systems, the development and regulation of multimodal transport, etc.
  • Participation in the presentation of countermeasures to offset government plans and monitoring their implementation.
  • Regular updates on the most important aspects of development plans and improvement programmes for the rail freight network and multimodal transport as well; advice about new methods for improving business competitiveness through the global value added chain.
  • As an ordinary member, the right to vote at ATCDA general assemblies and the chance to become a member of the association’s steering committee. As an ordinary or associate member, the chance to participate in the association’s miscellaneous activities.


  • Paying the association’s annual membership fee, thus allowing the ATCDA to carry out the various activities and actions required to meet its objectives.
  • Helping the secretary-general to attract new members to the association.
  • Participating in the meetings of the steering committee and general assembly and attending ATCDA public presentations. Taking part in the activities organised by the ATCDA working groups and any other association activities, including lobbying initiatives.
  • Publicising ATCDA objectives and plans.
  • Supplying information and new ideas to contribute to the success of ATCDA objectives and plans.
  • Collaborating with the ATCDA in its attendance at trade shows, fairs, forums, seminars, conferences, etc.
  • Above all, reinforcing the association’s strength and influence in its lobbying initiatives by supporting its objectives, plans and projects.