Spain's Catalan Railways (FGC), which is owned by the autonomous government of Catalonia, is to guarantee continuity of the Autometro and Cargometro services which provide finished vehicle and parts movements for Seat's Martorell plant near Barcelona, despite the withdrawal of Spanish National Railways (Renfe) in March. The announcement of FGC's continued support for the services was made by Enric Ticó, chairman of the FGC, who noted that both services were completely profitable and worthy of the rail provider's full support.
In March, the Spanish government, which effectively owns 100% of Renfe, announced that the provider would abandon both Autometro and Cargometro as part of a restructuring programme involving 80 public sector companies as part of a cost cutting process.
Among the companies affected were vehicle carriers Logistica y Transporte Ferroviario, also a freight transport subsidiary of Renfe. However, Pecovasa, another Renfe freight subsidiary that provides rail transport services for VW amongst others, remained unaffected.
It was initially announced that stakes in Autometro and Cargometro, as well as Semat, were also being relinquished but FGC's latest statement appears to have stayed execution on the first two.
Autometro was jointly owned by the FGC (51%) and Pecovasa. The company was set up to transport finished vehicles produced by Seat at its plant in Martorell to the nearby port of Barcelona by rail.
Cargometro, meanwhile, deals with the movement of car components between Seat's logistics area in the Barcelona Free Zone and Martorell plant. Ownership is split between the same three companies, with FGC holding 51% of the equity, Renfe 25% and Pecovasa 24%.
Renfe intends to put the shareholding it has in both companies up for sale.
In 2011, Cargometro doubled the number of trains it operates from 661 to 1,200 while Autometro transported 17,200 more cars last year, equivalent to growth of 23.5%.