(Zurich, 18 February 2010) Today, seven leading European rail freight operators officially created the Xrail alliance. Xrail's goal is to render international wagonload traffic by rail more customer-friendly and efficient. The alliance aims to increase the competitiveness of wagonload traffic in Europe significantly, thus helping take traffic off the roads and protect the environment.
Wagonload traffic represents around half of all freight transports by rail in Europe and, according to market studies, has significant international growth potential. This most important transportation mode is now to become more attractive and more efficient. This is the goal of the new Xrail alliance, which was officially created today when the founding agreement was signed by the CEOs of its partner railway undertakings in Zurich. The alliance is made up of seven partners: CD Cargo, CFL cargo, DB Schenker Rail, Green Cargo, Rail Cargo Austria, SBB Cargo and SNCB Logistics.
The alliance intends to boost the quality and competitiveness of European wagonload transport vis-à-vis road haulage. "Close cooperation on production and information processes can help us unlock significant potential in efficiency and quality", Xrail Project Leader Günther J. Ferk explained. The Xrail cross-border production standard benefits wagonload customers in three areas: reliability (at least 90 per cent in international wagonload traffic on the Xrail network), transparency (international timetables from customer siding to customer siding, active information systems) and offering process (standard response time of three days maximum).
Fernand Rippinger, CEO of CFL cargo, states that "We consider single wagon traffic a vital part of rail freight in Europe. Improving operational efficiency with Xrail is a key enabler for creating a customer-oriented single wagon network allowing us to take up the challenge competing with truck."
Xrail – a production alliance with potential for growth
After the successful completion of the pilot phase, during which services were delivered to customers according to the Xrail standards, Xrail now links the major economic areas in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden and Switzerland. Xrail builds upon the existing infrastructure, the European Union's TEN-T corridors (Trans European Transport Network). Xrail intends to expand its network in stages, the long-term goal being to encompass the entire European wagonload traffic network. Fixed costs make up circa 90 per cent of the cost of wagonload traffic; therefore the partners in the alliance are taking every effort to make optimum use of their respective networks in order to ensure the further development of wagonload traffic. This is good news for the environment too: the environmental performance of rail freight transport is considerably better than that of road haulage, especially over long distances.
Xrail was initiated in 2007 under the leadership of the International Union of Railways (UIC) in Paris. Under the coordination and support of UIC the alliance partners have since been developing and designing international production standards, the necessary IT tools, and quality improvement measures as well as elaborating the alliance agreement. "The alliance is laying the foundation for a sustainable wagonload network throughout Europe", says Oliver Sellnick, UIC Freight Director. Xrail addresses the operation of international wagonload traffic between the rail freight operators. The alliance is not targeting block train transport or combined transport using swap bodies. The commercial part of wagonload traffic, such as customer liaison and pricing, remains the direct responsibility of each of the participating railway undertakings, who continue to compete with one another. However, all Xrail partners commit to maintaining the high standards of quality and service for the customers, as defined within the alliance.
For more information about Xrail and wagonload traffic see additional factsheets on www.xrail.eu.
About CFL cargo
CFL cargo came into existence through the merger of the freight section of the Luxembourg National Railroad Company CFL and the internal transportation department of the Luxembourg mills of the world's number one steel company ArcelorMittal. This allows CFL cargo to benefit from the parent companies' extensive experience in the domains of railway operations, client service and safety.
The strategic location at the heart of Europe enables CFL cargo to operate the main European North-South and East-West routes in cooperation with its subsidiaries CFL cargo Deutschland and CFL cargo Danmark. In addition, CFL cargo offers feeder traffic service in the SaarLorLux region and in Northern Germany / Denmark.
With more than 400 employees and a fleet of 60 locomotives and 4000 wagons, CFL cargo offers customer-oriented services: regional & international freight transport, wagon rental, complete train formation, issuing of waybills and wagon maintenance.
Tel : 352-2481-4713