INTERNATIONAL: Specialist transport and infrastructure management consultancies CPCS Transcom and First Class Partnerships are to merge, the two companies announced on January 6.

Ottawa-based CPCS is the former consulting arm of Canadian Pacific Railway, which was spun off as an independent employee-owned company in 1988. It has since worked on more than 1 400 assignments across 130 countries, ranging from Western Canada to Africa. Headquartered in London, FCP is a strategic advisory consultancy specialising in rail, which has drawn expertise from across the UK rail sector following the privatisation of British Rail in the late 1990s. It is mainly active in the European market, but has been providing technical and strategic advice to Ontario’s public transportation agency Metrolinx since 2015.

The merger will bring FCP’s passenger and freight rail expertise to the North American and emerging markets, while CPCS will be able to provide broader transportation and power infrastructure consulting services in Europe and the UK.

The combined group will have around 140 staff and more than 200 associate consultants, with offices on four continents and annual revenues of more than US$30m. The two businesses will continue to operate under their existing names for now, and have committed to fully maintain their existing assignments. According to CPCS Co-Managing Partner Jean-François Arsenault, ‘both firms’ ongoing engagements will benefit from the added depth of the combined group’.

‘There is a fantastic complementarity between the two firms’, added FCP CEO Ian Horseman Sewell, who will join the CPCS board and lead the group’s UK and European operations. ‘The merger gives us access to a well-established global operating platform, backed by significant analytical expertise and a wealth of consulting resources.’

‘Our strategy is premised on bringing a deeper understanding of the multidimensional challenges and opportunities infrastructure leaders face’, explained CPCS Co-Managing Partner Marc-André Roy. ‘We’ve had successful collaborations with FCP and have found that they bring more depth in passenger rail transport than any other firm we’ve worked with. We’re looking forward to using this depth to achieve even greater impacts.’

The group expects to take advantage of the combined expertise to assist public transport operators and authorities respond to the long-term implications of the coronavirus pandemic on travel patterns, and other structural trends reshaping mobility, including climate change resilience, carbon neutrality and alternative funding models.