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World rail freight news round-up

22 Jan 2018

India’s Ministry of Railways has launched a Smart Freight Operation Optimisation & Real Time Information application, which Indian Railways freight managers can use to track the movement of freight trains and monitor business performance.

The UK’s Rail Freight Group has announced its sponsor partners for 2018: VTG Rail; Direct Rail Services; Loram; Associated British Ports; AV Dawson; DB Cargo; Ricardo Rail; Hutchison Ports UK; Victa Railfreight; Malcolm Rail; Freightliner; PD Ports; Rail Freight Services; Touax Rail and Maritime Transport.

Naviland Cargo is due to introduce in mid-March an intermodal shuttle service to connect the French ports of Le Havre, Marseille and Fos with a terminal at Chavornay, near Lausanne in Switzerland. Operating three days a week via the terminal at Gevray outside Dijon, the new service is expected to capture ‘a significant part’ of the Swiss container market estimated at up to 400 000 TEU/year.

Transport for the North’s draft Strategic Transport Plan for northern England is 'good news for rail freight operators and customers', according to Rail Freight Group Executive Director Maggie Simpson. 'In particular, the plan confirms support for the upgrade of the north Trans-Pennine route, where development work is currently underway.  We have been working to ensure that capacity and gauge for freight is fully incorporated as a core part of the work, and this must now be urgently confirmed as this vital project moves forward.'

TX Logistik's local subsidiary has obtained a new Swedish operating licence and safety certificate, replacing one which had been withdrawn because of regulatory concerns about its safety management systems. ‘The Swedish licence is an important part of our Scandinavian strategy with the aim of offering end-to-end services from Scandinavia to southern Europe and providing efficient rail solutions for the whole of Europe', said Mirko Pahl, CEO of parent company TX Logistik AG on January 16. 'As a next step, we're now planning from mid-2018 to obtain the licence for Denmark, and are also considering our options in Norway.'

On January 15 DB Cargo UK increased its Southampton – Wakefield intermodal service to run daily from Monday to Friday.

Speaking at the US Chamber of Commerce-hosted 'America’s Infrastructure Summit: Time to Modernize' event, American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association President Linda Bauer Darr said there were 'are three critical items' for short lines in any future US government infrastructure funding package: the long-term extension or permanency of the short line tax credit; modal equity 'ensuring that infrastructure is paid for by a user-based system such as a diesel tax or vehicle miles traveled fee'; and ensuring eligibility and priority for short line freight railroad projects in funding programme.

UK company Rail Operations Group has operated its first services to and from Scunthorpe, collecting wagons on behalf of Lynch.