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US News Freight. SNCF Réseau and Voies navigables de France join forces facing the road

20:50  25 january  2021
20:50  25 january  2021 Source:   ouest-france.fr

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Combine rail and waterways to compete with transport road, this is the ambition displayed Monday by the SNCF.

SNCF Réseau et Voies navigables de France (VNF) signed an agreement on Monday 25 January 2021 in Lille to promote complementarity between rail and river modes for the freight transport , facing the road.

"Our common ambition is to support each other to promote modal transfer as much as possible" from road to rail and river, summarized Thierry Guimbaud, the managing director by VNF. "There are real fields where we can play the alternative intelligently together" , he added before the signing of the agreement.

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"There is a very, very strong market demand at the moment to study rail and river type solutions" , much more respectful of the environment, underlined Isabelle Delon, Deputy General Manager for Customers and Services at SNCF Network. "There is nothing worse than having a demand that could not be met for lack of concrete proposals" , she noted.

Propose a commercial offer combining trains and barges

The two public entities intend "to set a partnership framework for reflection and actions" , aiming in particular to carry out market studies to identify complementarities, work on the development of a commercial offer combining trains and barges, and to communicate together with shippers and logisticians.

One of the first projects will consist in "carefully mapping the complementarities between the two modes, for existing flows as well as for potential flows to be developed," SNCF Réseau and VNF explained on Monday.

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This will notably involve developing interconnections, designating land belonging to SNCF near waterways, according to the needs of the industrial user sectors.

The two partners will also discuss traffic stops on their networks, "in order to offer alternative solutions as far as possible" at the neighbor's.

Rail and river freight represents 12% of the market

Railways currently provide 9% of freight transport in France, and river 3%, the remainder being carried out by road.

The agreement signed on Monday does not provide for a financial commitment at this stage, and it clearly excludes the formation of a joint venture.

"We are not on big investments. We're going to start with concrete and pragmatic things right away ”, noted Isabelle Delon. “Without having a disproportionate ambition, with fairly simple methods. "

The two partners must decline their collaboration at the regional level, starting with the signing of an agreement in the Seine valley.

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