Thursday, September 24, 2009

SNCF Has Designs On Expansion Of Freight Facilities

Rail Group Plans To Get It Right This Time
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – After last weeks announcement that SNCF, the state owned rail carrier, was to receive up to €12 billion in aid to modernise its services, the company have revealed their latest scheme to make the inefficient freight service work more effectively.

As we stated previously the company has designs on the construction of “rail highways” which will intersect across the country to pair with the already efficient, high speed passenger lines. The problem is however that SNCF have form when it comes to turning plans into results. This is not the first time Government money has been earmarked to turn around the ailing cargo carrying sector but SNCF has been often criticised for its lack of foresight in integrating passenger and multi modal freight terminals with the national rail system.

Msieu Guillaume Pepy, CEO of SNCF has sworn to allocate €1 billion over the next five years to increase the number of freight services and shuttle sizes to enable faster throughput of cargoes. As reported previously the company may well need to privatize certain parts of their freight carrying operation to avoid the recent losses from that sector, reported as around €400 million just last year.

Whilst promising better results at home the company has also come up with a bold plan by submitting proposals to the US Federal Railroad Administration to build and run a 220-mph rail system throughout the Midwest, as well as similar projects in California, Texas and Florida. The budget for the Midwest alone is circa $70 billion and the Americans are reported to be astonished at the French company’s scheme which involves the use of 220 mph super trains which provide a service twice as fast as those envisaged in competing tenders from US companies.