InRail’s 10th anniversary party showed an international value added
The private railway company headed by Porta celebrated its first decade of activities in its new workshop in Udine, and will now be operating also in the Slovenian market
Udine – For the opening of its new Friuli workshop, Inrail invited over 200 guests, ranging from the main local political institutions to railway operators, colleagues, customers, suppliers, partners and employees.
In fact, it celebrated much more than a simple company anniversary since it announced its entry into a new international market.
“We have great expectations for this initiative in Slovenia”, Inrail Chairman Guido Porta confirmed to Ship2Shore after the sumptuous celebration of their first 10 years of activities. “At the beginning of March we obtained the safety certificate to operate also in Slovenia and we have already hired the first 6 Slovenian train drivers on the Nova Gorica-Villa Opicina line. We will be the first private railway company to operate autonomously in Slovenia”, the head of the Liguria-Friuli railway explained proudly, adding that also InRail is subject to the aggressive policy of its incumbent operator.
“Like other private railway enterprises, we are damaged by Mercitalia as it hires drivers who were trained by us promising them better contracts, and this results in additional costs for us. We are betting on this new Via Giulia infrastructure, extending over a surface of 1,500 sm, which we took over after years of hard negotiations, and which under Moretti’s FS Group seemed impossible to obtain. We have already invested 3 million euro to refit 4 out of the 5 premises forming the complex (workshop for locomotives maintenance, workshop for passengers modules, warehouse, training halls and changing rooms), and another 800,000 euro will be added to renovate the office building. This reclamation, redevelopment and renovation activity was completed in one year. Investments were based on a loan of Banca di Cividale, while the regional investment trust Friulia, which had supported the newco when it was still a start-up, is no longer part of our shareholding structure although it held 35% of our share capital for 5 years”, the Genoese manager and entrepreneur explained.
The plant will be able to operate on 8 locomotives simultaneously and to carry out preventive and corrective maintenance of units, as well as washing and overhauling.
The workshop is connected to the Italian railway network with a 210 meters module suitable to shelter passengers train modules. The site consists of a covered 6,000 sm area, a railway park including 11 tracks and a 500 sm area to wash locomotives.
The new workshop expands the network of rolling stock maintenance structures including the MaReSer workshop in the Port of Genoa and Savona/Vado and the ODA workshop in Arquata Scrivia (Alessandria).
Having its registered and administrative office in Genoa, as well as operational branches in Udine and Nova Gorica (Slovenia), the company boasts 120 employees, including accredited instructors to train workers, skilled workers to prepare and drive trains and a multilanguage control room to manage traffics. It is also part of a network of affiliates dealing with railway logistics which gathers 16 different companies and boasts 350 employees, for a total business volume of 60 million euro. InRail closed the year 2018 with a turnover of 31 million euro.
“It is a rather firm figure, ranging from 30 to 33 million euro. Annual profitability often depends on external factors. For instance, we were damaged significantly by the closing of the Tarvisio Pass for 4 months”, explained Porta, pointing out that at present the most important goods for business – allowing to have 'heavy trains' – are cereals, and InRail is a leader in this sector.
“Part of our loads are assured by our two industrial shareholders, i.e. the companies ABS (Acciaieri Bertoli Safau) Danieli and Fantoni, which contribute to 20% of guaranteed traffic”.
In fact, InRail was incorporated in 2009, based on the combination of interests of two different parties: on the one hand, its three founder shareholders of 2006 Guido Porta, Lucio Gentile and Germano Boni, who are currently part of Tenor Srl (63%); and on the other the industrial couple Danieli-Fantoni, who in 2008 had established Inter-Rail Spa (37%), with Tullio Bratta as its Managing Director.
“Our first train dates back to February the 9th 2009. For every single line for which the Italian Railway Safety Agency (ANSF) qualified us, we had to work hard, certifying our machines and staff”, the Chairman recalled.
“Today InRail is a well-established company which can transport any types of products, providing high-quality services. Our reputation is the best competitive factor, even more than prices.
We have 14 locomotives which, in order to be profitable, must travel at least 120,000 Km per year, and we serve also far-away ports such as Gioia Tauro and Taranto.
Together with our sister company Fuorimuro Srl – which carries out shunting manoeuvres in the port of Genoa on an exclusive basis and operates regular connections also on the Italian network – and with the company FUC Ferrovie Udine Cividale we can achieve a traction force of 16 electric locomotives, 5 diesel locomotives and 30 shunting locomotives”, InRail’s spokesman continued.
“On top of that, we can offer three innovative services: we can operate heavy trains since we managed to increase our capacity from 1,600 to 2,200 tons; we were the first ones to deploy electric diesel locomotives, which can carry out manoeuvres to destination also without an electrified network; we have 9 locomotives with an axle load of 20 tons allowing to cross disadvantaged lines like those of Gemona and Osoppo”.
Porta delivered his speech before important guests such as the President of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia Massimiliano Fedriga, Councillor for Infrastructures and Territory Graziano Pizzimenti, Mayor of Udine Pietro Fontanini, Councillor for Mobility and Deputy Mayor Loris Michelini, Confindustria Udine President Anna Mareschi Danieli and FerCargo President Giancarlo Laguzzi.
Referring to the interport “quadrilateral” Pordenone, Cervignano, Fernetti, Gorizia as the European logistics hub which attracts also foreign interests, Governor Fedriga pointed out that the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia Region bets on these assets.
“Our small region boasts large specialized infrastructures: besides our 4 interports, we have 3 airports and 3 ports such as Trieste, Monfalcone and Porto Nogaro. Friuli-Venezia-Giulia became a proper logistics hub, and it is the ideal European terminus which China is looking for to implement its Silk Road project. Such an offer has already drawn the attention of Slovenian and Austrian operators, which already got in contact with our territory. In light of these unique prerogatives in Italy, we will attend the upcoming Munich Exhibition as a single Integrated Regional System”, Councillor Pizzimenti explained to Ship2Shore, before focusing on the need to add two sidings in Pordenone and Gorizia in order to solve the problem of the reversal of trains.
The ceremony ended with the presentation of the livery specifically designed for the Vectron Siemens locomotive by the specialized artist Emanuele Panzarini on behalf of InRail to celebrate the company’s first 10 years of activity.