Paris (AFP)

Prime Minister Jean Castex and Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebarri announced Monday the reopening in October of the Rungis-Perpignan rail freight line, on the occasion of a trip to Limoges on the recovery plan.

This line, which should reopen "in mid-October", the minister's entourage told AFP, is part of the government plan of one billion euros by 2024 for the development of freight railway.

"We are going to present the 2022 finance law where we will announce the extension of a certain number of aid for freight," added Jean Castex, after the announcement last week of the sustainability of annual aid to the rail freight of 170 million euros.

Coming to praise the recovery plan, the head of government stressed that "half of the 100 billion planned" had already been committed and that the objective was "to be at 70% by the end of 2021".

"We have illustrated here the rail component of this recovery plan, which is an extremely active component for freight, for the reopening of night trains, for the reopening of small lines or the safeguarding of small lines and then for the opening up of metropolises like Limoges ", he underlined.

In December, the government launched a call for expressions of interest for the resumption - then expected for the summer of 2021 - of the "primeurs train", a link between Perpignan and Rungis which allows the transport of fruit in refrigerated wagons. and vegetables, stopped since summer 2019.

Posters against the removal of the freight line connecting Perpignan to Rungis are stuck on the train, July 12, 2019 in Pergignan Raymond ROIG AFP / Archives

"The health crisis has underlined the absolute necessity of having food supply circuits which are fast, efficient and sustainable", had then put forward the Ministry of Transport.

The link had been suspended for lack of customers, the dilapidation of the wagons then being widely questioned.

This line connects the Saint-Charles International platform in Perpignan, the leading fruit and vegetable marketing, transport and logistics center in Europe, to the Rungis market (Val-de-Marne), presented as the largest fresh produce market in world.

It represents "a traffic of about 9,000 trucks per year", according to the ministry.

A combined transport solution (loading trucks or truck boxes onto trains) had been envisaged at the end of 2019 between Perpignan and the multimodal platform of Valenton (Val-de-Marne), located a few kilometers from Rungis, but it does not was not implemented, in particular because the carriers could not find the timetables convenient.

© 2021 AFP