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SNCF's Italian Branch Captrain Italia Returns to Pre-Pandemic Growth

SNCF's Italian Branch Captrain Italia Returns to Pre-Pandemic Growth
photo: Archive/SNCF's Italian Branch Captrain Italia Returns to Pre-Pandemic Growth
28 / 02 / 2023

Captrain Italia group returned to growth in 2022 after two years of substantial stagnation due to COVID-19. The Italian branch of the French state railways SNCF reached a record turnover of around 120 million euros, surpassing the pre-pandemic results of 2019.

The growth was over 15% compared to 2021, confirming Captrain Italia as the second Italian operator in the cargo railway sector behind the former monopolist Mercitalia. The group's net result shows a slight profit in 2022 after two years marked by negative results due to COVID-19.

Ansfisa's decision to limit the speed of wagons with synthetic soles in the first few months of 2022 was a highly penalizing measure requiring almost twice the amount of resources and personnel than had been planned. Additionally, the exponential increase in energy costs caused RFI's tolls to grow significantly.

The Italian Government also cancelled a large part of the subsidies previously paid for rail transport, an almost unique case in Europe which wants to transfer crucial shares of transport to rail currently still on rubber.

According to the Managing Director of Captrain Italia, Mauro Pessano, "the positive result in 2022 derives essentially from two components: the great commitment of the entire workforce and the continued trust of our customers. We owe them special thanks because they have understood and accepted variations to existing contracts to tackle the serious problem of 'expensive energy' together.

Unfortunately, we have not had the same support from Italian institutions, given that our international competitors can instead count on track discounts that have been progressively reduced, not to say almost cancelled, and with significant delays in the timing of their disbursement."

Captrain Italia consolidated its international vocation by launching new transport services to Northern and Eastern Europe in 2022. The company confirmed its position as the operator of choice at foreign passes of Domodossola (for Switzerland) and Villa Opicina (for Slovenia), as well as at Modane and Ventimiglia (both for France).

The company also increased its services through the Brenner Pass (for Austria). Captrain Italia maintained its leadership in the hazardous goods sector and increased its market shares in steel and intermodal.

The challenge for 2023 is to continue and improve the growth path in line with the Industrial Plan, which includes significant investments. Captrain Italia has ordered 8 new Traxx-class 494LM locomotives produced by Alstom (formerly Bombardier) that will arrive in 2024. Additionally, the company will have to increase efficiency internally with interventions aimed at reducing costs without affecting the workforce, which is its greatest asset.