UNDER ITS new strategy to meet competition from other operators and achieve break-even by 2009, Renfe’s Freight business unit is to cut its workforce by 20%. Of the 500 posts, 400 will be transferred to other business units.

At the same time, the loco fleet is to be reduced from 443 to 284, and productivity increased by 36% as older units are withdrawn. The Renfe board has approved the purchase of 50 Class 253 electric locos rated at 5000 kW for €150m, and rebuilding 28 Class 333 diesel locos at a cost of €53·2m.

By 2009 the wagon fleet is to be cut by 27% to 10118 units, increasing productivity by 37%. At present freight operations involve 460 trains a day carrying over 27million tonnes; it is hoped by 2009 to increase train-km by 5·6% and tonnages by 10·4%.

Freight made an operating loss of €27·7m in 2004, and its new strategy includes the formation of strategic alliances with logistics companies, port operators and freight operators outside Spain, following that agreed with Kombiverkehr earlier this year.