Gefco has launched an exclusive rail freight service for Peugeot Citroën between the carmaker’s Vesoul plant in France and the new production facility the French carmaker is setting up with Mitsubishi in Kaluga, Russia. Production at the €470m ($630m) plant is reported to be starting at the end of April.
The service, which has been established in partnership with Fret SNCF subsidiary Captrain Deutschland and Transcontainer, the intermodal division of Russian Railways, is carrying semi-knockdown (SKD) components from the Naviland Cargo terminal near the Vesoul plant in eastern France to Malaszewisze/Brest on the Poland/Belarus border. Here the containers are transhipped onto Russian wagons and transported to the Kaluga site, completing an overall distance of 3,000km.
The move to rail replaces the equivalent of 36 trucks a day and cuts delivery times from eight to five days, according to Gefco.
To support the new service Gefco is applying for subsidies from the European Union made available under the Marco Polo programme, which provides support for companies looking to move freight from road to more environmentally-friendly modes of transport including rail, sea and inland waterway. The EU programme is currently in its second phase with a budget of €450m and now includes countries bordering the EU as eligible for funding.
Gefco announced earlier this year tha it will start up activity in Kazakhstan and Bulgaria in 2010.
In other news, the Gefco has secured a contract to distribute up to 15,000 Renault vehicles in Morocco this year, bringing the total number of vehicles it distributes in the country to 55,000 (including Peugeout Citroën and Dacia).
The extra business, which includes distribution to 23 dealers, means Gefco Morocco is increasing the amount of storage at its Casablanca automotive centre for the French carmaker by 3,600 vehicle spaces.
The vehicles will be a mix of locally produced models and those imported from Europe.
Gefco’s turnover in 2009 was down 18.3% on the previous year to €2,888m ($3,864m) which the company’s management said was due to the impact of the slowdown in global automotive production in first-half 2009 and to an unfavourable industrial environment.
However, the company maintained its profit level with operating income of €102 million, representing 3.5% of turnover compared with 3.6% in 2008, explained as down to rigorous management of purchasing and operating costs and the impact of state intervention, particularly in the form of scrappage bonuses, amongst other influences.
Central and Eastern Europe were badly affected with turnover at €278m compared with 19% in 2008.