Ermewa: Safety first

Ermewa: Safety first
photo: Archiv/Railway
12 / 10 / 2020

A very engaging interview with Cyrille Guyon, Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe, was published in the Railvolution magazine. Therefore, we would like to bring you information from this interview.

The Ermewa SA is divided into three organizational units. South (based near Paris), North (based in Berlin) and Eastern (based in Prague). It focuses on three key areas: leasing of railway wagons (Ermewa SA), leasing of tank containers (Eurotainer) and operating workshops (Inveho).

Mr. Cyrille Guyon, Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe, has been with the Ermewa for 10 years. During this period, he gained a lot of experience in various job positions. For example, he was the director of business development. He was responsible for mergers and acquisitions in Western and Eastern Europe. In recent years, he has focused on the region of Central and Eastern Europe. Mr. Cyrille Guyon also has extensive experience in the field of logistics. He worked for Norbert Dentressangle, a major European carrier, for almost 10 years, before that he also worked for DHL.

The eastern organizational unit of the Ermewa SA has a total of 36 employees. About two thirds of them work in Prague. The rest operates at branches in Katowice, Budapest, Plovdiv, Bucharest and Subotica. Employees hold customer service, technical support and managerial positions. The local presence and proximity to customer is especially important point in the philosophy of the Ermewa SA.

The Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe, Cyrille Guyon, also spoke about the goals he would have liked to achieve in short horizon. In an interview with the Railvolution magazine, he said that there was a clear strategy for development in the three business regions. He would have liked to see the company's position strengthened in its current locations and would expanded to other destinations where it made sense. The Ermewa team must have been able to offer the right fleet at the right time with the highest level of safety. He emphasized that local action was particularly important. He quoted Poland as an example, where they needed to increase their physical presence, which they succeeded in and were on the right track to continue in this direction to other regions.

The key markets for this organizational unit are Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. Turkey could be a new market in the future. Mr. Cyrille Guyon stated that the Ermewa has had a global fleet of 42,000 wagons. Approximately 8,000 wagons were operated in eastern regions division. There were many types among them. For example, tanks, wagons for transporting steel coils, cereals, aggregates, powders. Ermewa also invested in intermodal wagons.

About 1500-2000 new wagons have been purchased annually for last two years. For 2020, it should have been 1800 new wagons. When the wagons were bought, it always was necessary to carefully consider the development of the market in individual segments, he said.

However, the volume of the vehicle fleet is also increasing through acquisitions. According to Cyrille Guyon, Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe, the Ermewa acquired about 600 wagons from the Macquarie European Rail in 2018 and grain wagons from the MONFER. A year later Ermewa SA acquired 154 container wagons from the ROSCO Bohemia and   over 100 steel coil wagons from the Express group.

The main pillar of the Ermewa SA is safety, according to Mr. Guyon. Ermewa helps to improve safety conditions, especially in LPG and RID materials transportation. When the need of including a several hundred of LPG vehicles in the fleet arose, Ermewa communicated with the wagon manufacturer on safety optimalization and operational aspects. It cost a lot of effort and money. The final wagons have a tank with a volume of 117 cubic meters. The tank is 18 meters long. It is produced by the Polish manufacturer CHEMET. The tank-body has a reinforced bottom of the shell, so that it does not perforate when the wagons hits and capsizes on the side while it is still moving. The car has shields instead of anti-climbing devices. These are better in the event of an accident. Thanks to these measures, however, the total weight of the car increased. To lighten the construction, the wagon has a CFCB type brake and the car does not have a middle beam.

Similar safety upgrades have been made for chlorine wagons. So far, 230 units have been produced and Ermewa's customers acknowledge the safety features involved in the design.

In the interview with the Railvolution on the topic of safety, Cyrille Guyon literally said: “Increasing safety means a combination of operational optimization, passive safety measures, and active safety measures, all reflected in the new wagon design. Passive safety measures include traditional features such crash buffers, anti-climbing devices, or shields. There are new options in the area of active safety thanks to technological developments, as this is based on use of telematic devices. These can monitor crucial parts of bogies (such bearings), brake condition, or correct cargo weight, and send a warning message if a problem is detected“.

The Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe of the Ermewa SA also sees the strengthening of safety in a technological novelty, the development and implementation of automatic coupling devices. The Ermewa is directly involved in this project.

It is also necessary to mention the conference, which took place in Prague in 2019 and was focused on security issues. Next year, Ermewa SA would initiate another similar conference.

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