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Published: 10 June 2012      

SNCF Geodis unveils WIIA

The new brand will spearhead SNCF's internationalisation drive for its autoroute ferroviaire services

The new brand WIIA was unveiled last week at the Barcelona International Logistics Fair. As previously reported in WorldCargo News, initially SNCF aims to extend the Perpignan-Bettembourg autoroute ferroviaire(rail motorway) service southwards into Spain and Portugal and northwards into Denmark and Sweden.

The existing Lorry-Rail Alpine (Aiton-Orbassano) and Bettembourg-Perpignan services, controlled 58.34% by SNCF, have been rebranded to WIIA. Following gauge enhancement works in Mont Cenis (Monte Cenisio), the Alpine service now has GB1 gauge so it no longer confined basically to tanker trailers.

The next phase of this service is to extend the rail route closer to Lyon, but the concession still has to be awarded by the French and Italian authorities and WIIA is in competition with Trenitalia Merci, its partner on the Italian side. 

Thierry Le Guillou, who heads up the autoroutes ferroviaires within SNCF Geodis, also stated that the extra train length (to 850m) and extra trailing weight (to 2400 tonnes) introduced into the Bettembourg-Perpignan route in January this year will be applied to all the services (four pairs/day).

Another route long planned by SNCF Geodis is autoroute ferroviaire Atlantique, linking Bayonne with Lille-Dourges and onwards to Benelux and Great Britain. DB Schenker Rail (formerly Euro Cargo Rail) has withdrawn its candidacy and now only WIIA is in the frame to run it.

The plan is to hold a public tender to run the terminals, with WIIA taking care of the wagon investments (Modalohr horizontal loaders, always) and the traction.

Le Guillou is sceptical about the viability of an autoroute ferroviaire portuaire service over Nantes-Saint Nazaire, since the frequency of the Autoroute de la Mer connecting Saint Nazaire (Montoir) with Gijón in Spain does not correspnd with the required frequency of a rail service (four pairs/day, minimum).

For Marseilles-Fos, on the other hand, the much bigger maritime traffic base could provide the necessary aggregation. As previously reported, GPM de Marseille-Fos has set aside space for a Lorry-Rail terminal and studies are under way.

For the proposed extension of the Bettembourg-Perpignan route to Helsingborg, it is now understood that trailers would be transloaded from Modalohrs to classic pocket wagons in Bettembourg. Transit time between Perpignan and Helsingborg is projected at 48 hours - saving 24 hours compared to all-road transport.

There is insufficient capacity today over Le Boulou to run services into Spain, but WIIA is planning to open a new terminal in Catalonia by 2016. An agrement to develop Lorry-Rail services already exists with the ports of Algeciras and Barcelona, but realisation could be some way off. Also in planning are services to Switzerland and Germany, and possibly a southwards extension of the Atlantique service to Madrid and Lisbon (original reporting in French on l'antenne.com).

  • Also from l'antenne.com. From 9 July, a new intermodal service willl run between Le Havre and Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne, operated by SAS Ferovergne. Capacity is slated at 600 TEU/month, on the basis of two pairs/week and 27-wagon long trains (with a plan to increase train length to 37 wagons). Transit time will be 24 hours, competitive with all-road. Ferovergne is a new joint venture of SNCF, road transport operators, logistic companies and shippers [isn't this the former Novatrans formula? - WCN] and is headed by François Combronde.


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  • Ferovergne
  • Lorry-Rail
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  • Intermodal and multimodal operators
  • Europe


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