International development

Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group is a point of reference for the railway sector around the world both because of its financial results and also for the level of professionalism associated with its use of innovative technologies.

The Group exports domestic production to 60 countries in the five continents, where it generates revenues of over a billion euros, developing projects for high-speed trains and conventional lines, through Transport Master Plans, feasibility studies, preliminary and implementation design, work supervision and testing. It also carries out maintenance and network improvement, security (homeland security for railway infrastructure), training and operation and maintenance work.

Graphic: map that shows the international development of FS Group

In the 2017-2026 Industrial Plan great importance is attached to overseas growth. That business now represents 13% of total revenue, and the aim is to reach 23% in 2026, doubling a share that, with the simultaneous doubling of total revenue, will mean that group turnover generated overseas will quadruple. That will position FS Italiane at the level of other players in the European railway sector, with 4.2 billion turnover in 2026.

This growth will take place in three main directions:

  • The first consists in putting itself forward as a general contractor, with the capacity to build railways, especially in countries with a large gap in infrastructure. There are 200 railway companies around the world, but only seven with high-speed lines. FS Italiane thus has a real chance of exporting its know how. The priority areas for international expansion are the Middle East (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman), India and South-East Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam), the Americas (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, the US, and Canada) and Africa (Ivory Coast, Congo and South Africa).
  • The second looks to the growth of the market for rail services abroad. Trenitalia can export the very high-quality level of travel that it now has on its high-velocity network. As well a strengthening of existing cross-border relationships (for example the Thello services to France, the Venice – Ljubljana – Belgrade service or new traffic with Switzerland following the opening of the Gotthard and Ceneri base tunnels) there will be a focus on the most interesting European routes: Paris – Brussels, Paris, Paris – Bordeaux, Hamburg – Cologne, Milan – Zurich – Frankfurt (a link that will start at the end of 2017 and will cross three countries), Athens – Salonica (thanks to the purchase of Trainose) and London – Edinburgh. All of this is because of the liberalisation of European railways which will start in 2020 because of the Fourth Railway Package
  • The last involves the international development of TPL, which will be mainly achieved using the group’s presence abroad. The aim is to find rail/road integration opportunities for passenger transport in the cities served by the infrastructure work done by the group. 

International expansion 

Through subsidiaries, the FS Italiane Group, is continually operating in foreign markets. For example the commitment of RFI, the company to which the public role of infrastructure manager is given, mainly works in developing integrated European rail space with the strengthening of its network along the core corridors of the TEN-T network (Trans European Network-Transport) and the linkage with air, port and interport hubs in Italy and the rest of Europe. In particular, the company is moving forward on projects and work for the cross-border sections of the Mediterranean Corridor and the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor (the Turin-Lyon section between Italy and France, the Brenner base tunnel between Fortezza and Innsbruck[VG1] , the Trieste - Divaca between Italia e Slovenia[VG2] ) and takes part in the governance and management activities of the four trade corridors (Rail Freight Corridors) which connect Italy.

Italferr, the FS Italiane engineering company, is noted as being one of the most prominent players in foreign markets, and plays the role of “General Contractor” in securing contracts at any level. The company has 14 bases around the world (of which four are in Europe). Amongst its most recent projects, Italferr has signed a joint venture with Iran Oston, a local engineering company. The contract involves project management consultancy for the management and supervision of the activities carried out by the Chinese contractor CREC. Also in play is the design and construction of Iran’s first high-speed line (Tehran-Qom-Isfahan), a dual-track, 440km electrified route with commercial usage speeds expected to exceed 250 km/h.

In Peru the bidding has been won for the Trans-Andean Tunnel project, in association with other international engineering companies. The work forms part of the wider railway connection development project between the city of Lima and the central regions of the country that has been laid down by the Peruvian Ministry of Transport.

In 2017 Italferr signed a Memorandum of understanding with RITES (the government engineering firm, which is the operating arm of Indian Railways in planning) and opened an office in New Delhi, after having developed some activities in the past (including taking part in the feasibility study for the Pune - Mumbai – Ahmedabad high-speed corridor). Italferr has also signed an agreement with "Dedicated Freight Corridors Corporation India Limited", a company created by Indian Railways to build new freight corridors.

As part of passenger transport, Trenitalia, with its Eurocity and Euronight international trains, links the main Italian locations to Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland. In France, through Thello (100% controlled by Trenitalia) it has widened its range of links to include various locations on the Cote d’Azur. Trenitalia UK, the UK-registered company based in London which is 100% controlled by Trenitalia, in January 2017 bought the NXET company (National Express Essex Thameside), which runs the c2c (City to Coast) franchise for links between London and Shoeburyness, on the south-east coast of Essex.

Trenitalia UK has also presented a manifestation of interest for the East Midlands franchise through the new joint venture First Trenitalia East Midlands Rail Limited, which is 70%-owned by FirstGroup and 30% by Trenitalia UK.

And also, First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Limited, the partnership between FirstGroup and Trenitalia UK, is also one of the finalists in the competition for the railway franchise on the West Coast of England.

The Netinera Group has carried out rail and road transport work in the German market for local public services, with cross-border services from Germany to the Czech Republic and Poland, and goods services.

Trenitalia works in all the main European countries in freight and logistics, mainly through TX Logistik, its wholly-owned German subsidiary, which is an essential partner on the north-south traffic axis, and carries out transport services in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy.

The FS Italiane Group starts operations in Greece, following the acquisition of the Athens-based firm Trainose. Finally, the FS Group – through its subsidiary Busitalia – has also entered the Dutch local public transport market (bus and tram). In August 2017, FS Italiane through its subsidiary Busitalia, bought from Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS, Dutch railways) the full ownership of Qbuzz, the third-largest local public transport operator in Holland (Utrecht and Groningen - Drenthe), for a gross consideration of 30 million euros.

Share on Linkedin