GERMANY: SNCF’s international rail freight subsidiary Captrain Deutschland has formed a joint venture with ArcelorMittal to take over the maintenance and operation of the industrial railway network serving the steel group’s 7 km2 steelworks complex in Bremen, which dates from 1957.

Launched on May 10, Hansebahn Bremen GmbH is 51% owned by Captrain Deutschland GmbH (formerly Veolia Cargo) and 49% by ArecelorMittal Bremen GmbH. It takes over from AMB’s rail transport business unit TLT and the railway maintenance arm TLB. The new company has 142 employees, around 110 km of track, 14 diesel locomotives and 530 wagons.

Hansebahn Bremen Managing Director Götz Jesberg says the partnership will bring main line railway expertise and resources from Captrain, and allow the operator to serve better the fully-integrated steelworks complex and optimise the use of resources.

However, the new operator does not intend to limit its activities to the existing steelworks business. Hansebahn Bremen sees ‘interesting options’ to expand out into regional rail freight operations, for example as a feeder and local distributor to Captrain Deutschland’s long-distance services. In particular it envisages opportunities to capture a share of the important port-hinterland traffic, where much of Germany’s maritime trade move through the ports of Bremen, Bremerhaven and Hamburg.