4.4.15

A PIZZERIA MAKES A LOUSY STEEL MILL.

And thus does Belgium seek a private owner for its freight rail service.
SNCB Logistics was formed in 2011 from the former rail freight business units of Belgian Railways. It has 1,900 employees, a fleet of 200 diesel and electric locomotives, and 7,000 freight cars. It transported 33 million tons of freight in 2014. In 2014, SNCB Logistics had revenues of $486 million and a profit of $12 million before taxes and depreciation.

SNCB Logistics is planning to expand and develop its services. Single carload services make up 725 of the 1,875 trains the company operates weekly are a key development area especially as some neighbouring national rail operators have largely abandoned this traffic in recent years. SNCB Logistics serves 215 locations in Belgium and 564 elsewhere in Europe, using its classification yards in Antwerp, Belgium, as the hub for these operations. The purchase is part of a growing trend in which European countries sell-off, or privatize, railway operations to individuals or companies. Other countries that are privatizing rail operations include the United Kingdom, Poland, and Sweden.
What intrigues is the continued presence of loose-car railroading.  The neighboring, larger countries probably see more opportunities for one-consigner, one-destination unit trains, if not on the scale present in North America.

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