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Outsourcing contracts are therefore based on an overall package negotiated with the customer, with subcontracts negotiated by the main contractor and transport subcontractors. The players at the bottom of the contract hierarchy -- subcontractors providing traction services -- are less able to operate autonomously in the logistics services market and are in the weakest competitive position. 32  ECMT, 2004 Railway companies, in this case, flag carriers, are in danger of finding themselves in the position of subcontractors.

2. The decision to introduce rolling roads A careful review of UIRR statistics for 2000-01 reveals astonishing growth in international rolling road traffic, which in 2001 accounted for 30 per cent of total international traffic in terms of the number of shipments and 24 per cent of total traffic. This is due to the almost exclusive use of rolling roads on major links such as those between Germany and Austria, Austria and Hungary, Germany and the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary, as well as to subsidies to this mode of transport by Switzerland, Austria and border regions.

However, the resources needed are often beyond the financial reach of the actors, while the national railway companies -- who could make such resources available -- are at the moment concentrating on internal restructuring of the groups that their acquisitions have helped to form. Furthermore, the “unlearning” process is inherently 38  ECMT, 2004 a difficult one for large organisations. They still have a long way to go and real innovation in the rail transport mode is not yet in sight. This said, liberalization has also posed problems which will have to be solved.

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