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SNCB Logistics: Operational start as independent company and rail operator

Publication date: 1 February 2011
Author: SNCB Logistics S.A.

SNCB Logistics has today become operational as an autonomous company and rail operator. The SNCB Group has provided its new subsidiary with all the necessary means and resources to run freight trains in Belgium and in neighbouring countries. This constitutes an essential step in the reorganisation of the SNCB freight activity. SNCB Logistics is a public limited company of private law and has a structure with its own national rail production, commercial subsidiaries (IFB and Xpedys) and international corridors. The group has a solid base to become profitable and competitive and to develop into an independent, efficient, international logistics concern. SNCB Logistics will continue to call on SNCB for shunting operations, a part of the traction and the maintenance of the rolling stock.

SNCB Logistics, fully fledged rail operator

The new company, SNCB Logistics, became operational on 1 February 2011. As foreseen in the restructuring plan approved by the European Commission, on that date SNCB Logistics assumed the use of more then 200 locomotives for freight train traction, together with a number of buildings and financial support. The company is responsible for inland rail production and has a rail licence and the necessary safety certificates for that purpose. SNCB Logistics has been responsible for the production of freight trains running in Belgium as of midnight last night. The transition passed swiftly.

On 1 February, the personnel of SNCB Logistics is limited to the management and part of the supervisory staff. The current statutory and contractual staff (mainly central services and train drivers) will be transferred in the course of the year, in consultation with the social partners. Transfer to the subsidiary is always on a voluntary basis, with retention of their status for the persons concerned. There will be no forced redundancies.

SNCB Logistics NV/SA (shareholding: NMBS 93.14%; NMBS Holding: 6.86%) will be led by Geert Pauwels, who has been at the head of the NMBS freight activities since mid 2008, and has now been appointed executive director.

Restructuring of the freight activity

The creation of this subsidiary is part of a significant restructuring initiated three years ago to salvage what had long been a loss-making activity. The Belgian State and the European Commission approved the restructuring plan and a last financial support, on condition that the freight activity be transferred to an independent company. 75% of the recovery plan has been carried out and has led to sizeable cost savings. SNCB Logistics also reached a social agreement on the matter last November.

The implementation of the restructuring plan will lead to profitability in 2012. Last year SNCB Logistics has already transported 10% more volumes then in 2009 and the first signs for 2011 are positive. The group continues to work on the necessary improvement of quality and productivity and also on the development of its commercial logistics offering.

SNCB Logistics, an independent, efficient, international logistics group

In addition to rail operator, SNCB Logistics is an international logistics group that provides multi-modal solutions throughout Europe. The Group comprises two commercial subsidiaries that are responsible for customer contacts, an organisation for its national rail production and stakes in international corridors. The contact points for customers are IFB, a European intermodal and terminal operator (container transport), and Xpedys, a specialist in logistical solutions for conventional transport (metals, bulk, chemicals and automotive products). These subsidiaries have in turn a number of branches responsible for inland shipping, road transport and other logistical services. IFB and Xpedys are present and active in 11 European countries.

SNCB as service provider

As discussed in the social agreement, the current statutory staff that carries out station and shunting operations is to remain within SNCB. SNCB Logistics will continue to call on SNCB for these services (via SNCB Freight Services, a new service in SNCB), as well as for the maintenance of the rolling stock and (temporarily) for the traction of the trains (via SNCB Technics) under service contracts.

This means that the former B-Cargo Operations partly merges into SNCB Logistics (central services and rail operator) and partly into SNCB Freight Services (shunting operations and stations).

SNCB Logistics is a dynamic and customer oriented organisation, which has a solid base to offer qualitative logistic and multimodal services at a competitive price.

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