Euro Cargo Rail third rail freight operator in France
Paris, France – The French Minister for Transport has today awarded EWS International a Safety Certificate, allowing it to operate freight trains on the French rail network and making it the third rail freight operator in France.
EWS International, who will operate trains on behalf of Euro Cargo Rail, is the Channel Tunnel and mainland Europe rail freight operating division of EWS Railway Holdings Limited.
A new French company, Euro Cargo Rail, will do the marketing and trading of these new rail freight services. A formal launch of Euro Cargo Rail will occur later this year.
Euro Cargo Rail’s strategy will be to grow the total volume of rail freight services in France by providing businesses with an economically viable alternative to road transportation, whilst operating services safely and to high levels of punctuality and reliability.
European rail freight services currently account for 8% of the total freight transportation market. Following legislation from the European Commission to facilitate rail freight growth, this is forecast to rise from 8% to 15% by 2020. Euro Cargo Rail’s primary aim is to grow its business safely to assist in meeting this target.
Euro Cargo Rail will be marketing new rail freight services on a number of routes in northern France, particularly on routes to and from the French border, such as the Calais to Tourcoing, and Calais to Dunkerque rail routes. The first Euro Cargo Rail freight train is expected to operate winter 2005.
Euro Cargo Rail has placed an initial order for four Vossloh G1206 freight locomotives, and delivery is expected by the end of this year. These locomotives will be driven by drivers from EWS International. Options for further locomotives and wagons are currently being assessed by Euro Cargo Rail.
All train drivers for EWS International are fully trained in the safety and operational requirements of the rail network in France, following their years of experience from operating services in partnership with SNCF Fret through the Channel Tunnel.
Alain Thauvette, Director General of Euro Cargo Rail, said: “The aim of Euro Cargo Rail is to operate safe and reliable rail freight services to increase the size of the rail freight market in France. Euro Cargo Rail will provide its customers with not only an attractive alternative to road transportation, but one that is also environmentally acceptable and safe.”
Keith Heller, Chief Executive of EWS International and President of Euro Cargo Rail, said: “EWS International is proud to have become the third rail freight operating company in France. With the strong track record on safety and operating performance that EWS International has working with SNCF Fret in the Channel Tunnel, we will extend this to our services for Euro Cargo Rail and its customers.”