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RailRunner Europe files for insolvency

21 Jan 2019

GERMANY: RailRunner Europe GmbH has filed for insolvency, with the bankruptcy court of Hamburg appointing Dr Susanne Riedemann of specialist law firm Prof Dr Pannen Rechtsanwälte as preliminary insolvency administrator on January 18.

The RailRunner Europe management said they intend to reorganise and restructure the company.

The European subsidiary of US holding company RailRunner NA Inc was founded in Hamburg in 2015, and since the end of July 2017 has operated a Braunschweig –Bratislava intermodal service using pocket wagons and Mega Trailers, swapbodies and containers.

This was intended to enable the company to collect data ahead of a planned European launch of its own road-rail technology, which uses a container-carrying chassis with road wheels that can be mounted on rail bogies. 

RailRunner Europe said it had served more than 200 customers, with much of this business involving automotive components. However, several factors had limited its ability to scale up the operation:

  • long latencies in loading and unloading trailers at plants and warehouses, increasing first and last mile costs;
  • extensive periods of ‘limited acceptable rail service’ owing to infrastructure works on the route through the Elbe valley;
  • demands for extremely long payment periods from customers;
  • extreme weather and the general industrial outlook had put additional pressure on revenue and cash flows.

‘RailRunner Europe GmbH has made tremendous strides in providing consistent, high quality service over the past 18 months using traditional intermodal pocket cars and GPS-equipped craneable trailers from leading trailer manufacturers’, said Charles Foskett, RailRunner Europe Managing Director and CEO of RailRunner NA Inc. ‘While large challenges still remain, under this more controlled environment we will have the opportunity to mitigate some of the market externalities as well as to focus on our internal operations and improve our financial performance for the benefit of all of our customers and commercial partners.’