SPAIN: The board of state operator RENFE has approved a restructuring programme for its Freight & Logistics business that would see the private sector offered up to 45% of four trading companies operating in distinct market sectors.

The programme aims to strengthen RENFE's competitive position in the liberalised freight market, while meeting government objectives to increase rail market share.

Three new companies are to be created, including Contren to provide intermodal services and Irion which would move iron and steel including coil and long products. Bulk freight including coal, cement, grain, fuel and chemicals would be carried by Multi, while RENFE's Pecovasa and LTF joint ventures would be combined as Pecovasa to transport car parts and finished road vehicles.

While hoping to draw on the specialist marketing expertise of its eventual private-sector partners, RENFE would remain responsible for train planning and traction as well as rolling stock maintenance.

Approval of the restructuring programme by the Spanish cabinet is awaited.