Les Aubrais agreement

FRANCE: Construction of an intermodal freight hub at Les Aubrais in the north of Orléans is set to begin in July for opening in 2025.

Shippers have been requesting such a facility for a long time, SNCF Réseau CEO Matthieu Chabanel said when the infrastructure manager, national government and the Centre-Val-de-Loire and Normandie regions presented details of the planned terminal during February.

The site will initially have two 250 m long tracks, with a capacity of 150 containers/day which it is hoped will shift from the roads. As usage increases the tracks will be extended to 750 m.

The €10·3m cost of the temrinal is to be funded by the national government (50%), Centre-Val-de-Loire (40·19%) and Normandie (9·81%), with SNCF Réseau providing the land.

French Transport Minister Clément Beaune said the 50% government contribution was unusually high, but intermodal traffic by rail in France is now 30% higher than in 2019, and to encourage further growth state support for rail freight will be extended beyond 2024 with a target of a tripling of intermodal transport by 2030.

President of Normandie région Hervé Morin said the authority is investing in the terminal to support the hinterland of the port of Le Havre, which will have two trains a day to the site.

Aurélien Barbé, director of Groupement National des Transports Combinés, said plans for 15 more intermodal terminals across France would be announced in October.