BELGIUM: As part of the ongoing rationalisation of its freight business unit, SNCB is consolidating the activities of its two intermodal subsidiaries with effect from May 1.

Within SNCB Groupe Fret, IFB (Inter Ferry Boats) and TRW (Transport Route Wagon) have operated in parallel for several years, with IFB specialising in maritime container movements by rail or inland waterway and TRW focusing on road-rail operations. Both companies have expanded their activities in recent years, resulting in greater overlap between their products and customer bases.

To clarify the position and offer its customers ‘a better and unambiguous service’, SNCB has decided to consolidate all commercial activities for its transport and logistics operations into IFB, which it says will be a ‘customer-focused proactive entity’ headed by Wilfried Moons as General Manager Intermodal with Jean-Luc Mélard as General Manager, International Business Development.

TRW will become an asset manager, responsible for the ownership and management of the combined intermodal wagon fleet. The company will lease wagons to train operators or industrial shippers, and provide wagon maintenance and repair services, both in Belgium and abroad. It will also be able to offer fleet management to other train operators or shippers with their own wagon fleets.

Geert Pauwels, Managing Director of IFB and Co-ordinator of SNCB Groupe Fret, says that ‘with the new structure, we will be able to offer our customers a more extensive service of superior quality and will be in a better position to anticipate to and cater for their needs. We have created two specialised entities, each with a perfect mastery of its core business’.