The founding documents for the Fixed Link 

Eurotunnel: the cross-Channel Fixed Link's three cornerstones
12 Feb 1986 - 12:00 a.m.
The treaty of canterbury

(signed by the States on 12 February 1986)

The States authorise the construction and operation of the Fixed Link as a concession without any public financing or guarantees.


14 Mar 1986 - 12:00 a.m.

(signed by the Concessionaires and the States on 14 March 1986)

The Agreement sets out Eurotunnel’s rights and duties in regard to the conception, financing, construction and operation of the cross-Channel Fixed Link until 2086, as well as the commitments taken by the States through the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC), in order to facilitate the cross-Channel Fixed Link’s operation.


29 Jul 1987 - 12:00 a.m.

(signed by the Concessionaires and the State Railways on 29 July 1987)

The RUC sets out:

  • access conditions to the infrastructure
  • detailed charging framework on the basis of long-term costs, covering all operating costs and allowing for construction investment recovery
  • non-discriminatory access for all railway undertakings.

Charging framework

Other documents
25 Sep 1991 - 8:00 a.m.

Signed on 25 November 1991 between the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the government of the French Republic concerning frontier controls and policing, co-operation in criminal justice, public safety and mutual assistance relating to the cross-Channel Fixed Link.

The RUC was essential to the financing structure of the project in 1987 and to the 2007 financial restructuring.

Eurotunnel, pioneer in concession tolls which also respects the European directives concerning the recovery of long-term costs for railway infrastructure.

Read the document

Additional reports and studies
01 Jun 2018 - 12:00 a.m.
The report "Economic footprint of the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link" from EY

EY published a report entitled “Economic Footprint of the Channel Tunnel in the EU” which shows for the first time the detail of the traffic flows managed by Eurotunnel between the UK and its 5 principal European partners (Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Ireland).

The total amount of trade passing through the Tunnel each year has increased to almost €140 billion, with imports and exports being almost equal. This represents hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the Channel and this value has increased significantly over the last two years. In addition, millions of passengers also use the Tunnel, both with their cars and by train.

The detailed analysis of the different sectoral flows shows that speed and ease of passage from one side of the Channel to the other are the most important for both industry and consumers. We also learn that:

  • The UK is the destination of 7% of total EU27 exports (by value), supporting activity in a number of regional and national economies across Europe. The Channel Tunnel is integral to this, facilitating 26% of UK-EU trade.
  • 90% of respondents to an EY & Ipsos Mori survey of the Channel Tunnel’s freight customers said they chose the Channel Tunnel due to the shorter transport time, 56% for its frequency and 54% for its flexibility relative to alternatives.
  • The majority of EU-UK trade facilitated by the Channel Tunnel is with the UK’s near neighbours. Belgium, France and Germany combined make up 54% of all trade through the Channel Tunnel.

Economic footprint of the Channel Tunnel in the EU

01 Oct 2016 - 12:00 a.m.
Economic footprint of the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link - EY

The Channel Tunnel facilitates trade worth £91.4bn per year, representing a quarter of all UK trade in goods with the European Union, according to a new report from Ernst & Young.

The report, entitled “Economic footprint of the Channel Tunnel” fixed link, assesses the economic contribution of the Channel Tunnel to trade and tourism, and its role in the UK’s economic growth. It finds that 30% of UK exports (£43.6bn) to the EU and 22% of imports (£47.8bn) from the EU depend on the speed ease and reliability of the Channel Tunnel, with exports through the Tunnel alone supporting 220,000 jobs in the UK.

The Channel Tunnel has fundamentally changed the way the UK does business, enabling integrated manufacturing across the continent and opening up new markets. Industrial sectors which depend on the Tunnel’s speed and reliability of service, include ‘Just-in-Time’ production for sectors such as the automotive industry, ‘express delivery’ for logistics companies and the rapid transportation of essential fresh food products.

As well as goods transported on Truck Shuttles and rail freight trains, the Tunnel also transports 21 million passengers a year via Eurotunnel’s Le Shuttle service and Eurostar trains. This facilitates inbound tourism via the Tunnel worth £1.7bn to the economy, supporting a further 45,000 jobs in the UK and 840,000 business trips which keep the UK’s services sector competitive.

Economic footprint of the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link

In the reasoned opinion issued by the European Commission in June 2013, the European authorities relied, inter alia, on a study carried out by the British Freight Transport Association (FTA) who developped the theory that the Channel Tunnel tolls constitute an impediment to the development of rail freight.

Eurotunnel commissionned Interfleet Technology (a member of the SNC-Lavalin group), a British consultancy specialising in the rail industry, to carry out a study on the development of rail freight in the Channel Tunnel with a view to identifying the real obstacles to the development of rail freight in the Tunnel and to provide a critical analysis of the FTA study.

You will find below a summary of this report. This shows clearly that freight tolls, which have remained constant since 2007 (not being linked to inflation) cannot be the cause of the lack of traffic in the Tunnel. In this note, Interfleet Technology states in its conclusion that: “The review carried out by SNC-Lavalin suggests that the conclusion of the FTA study cannot be used as teh basis to justify the review of the level of freightaccess charges through the Channel Tunnel.”

Summary of SNC-Lavalin report on development of rail freight traffic through the Channel Tunnel - October 2013

A potential of 14.2 million cross-Channel passengers

Eurotunnel’s investment of €15 billion, 20 years ago to construct the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link, created a vital junction between Great Britain and continental Europe which is now used by more than 20 million people per year, of which 10 million on Eurostar services.

Beyond this remarkable success, Eurotunnel has been convinced for some time that the opening of new destinations by the railway operators would enable an increase in traffic via these new services. Eurotunnel commissioned PWC to carry out a study into these opportunities.

The conclusions from the study are very clear:

  • The potential for “high speed” traffic in 2020 is 14.2 million passengers per year,
  • Just four direct destinations represent 85% of the increase that would be created by new lines: Geneva, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Cologne,
  • The reduction in travel time is even more important than price in relation to choice of ticket and has a direct impact on the growth of market share in favour of rail over air,

Due to the time required to build up traffic, the volume captured can be even more important if the service is created rapidly.
Eurotunnel wants to ensure that the railway operators are aware of all of this information so that they can move to capitalise on this potential for growth, which would be to the advantage of both European consumers, who will gain in choice, and to the environment, as quickly as possible.

Extract of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study