ITALIAN Railways has decided to restructure its freight operation as a stand-alone company later this year.

After discussing the proposal with the Director of the Treasury at the Ministry of Finance Domenico Siniscalco, FS President & Administrator-General Giancarlo Cimoli informed the FS and Trenitalia boards on March 3 that the present business unit would become a separate subsidiary reporting directly to the holding company.

Cimoli anticipates that the new business, provisionally named Cargo SpA, will be legally formed by the end of this month, with a registered capital of €400m. The move will allow Trenitalia to focus on the operation of passenger services, and improve its profitability. Last year the freight business lost €250m on a turnover of €991m. Cimoli hopes the new structure will help to turn the business around and increase traffic.

Subject to agreement with the unions, 14200 staff will transfer from Trenitalia to Cargo SpA. Of these, 2500 responsible for shunting work would then move to infrastructure company RFI. An early priority will be to tackle productivity issues; Cimoli noted that FS Cargo drivers are in charge of trains for an average of 14h per week, compared to 20h for Ferrovie Nord Cargo or 34h at German partner Tx Logistik.