Through a process to integrate the traditional rail transport business with those of road and metropolitan mobility in Italy and abroad, the FS Group aims to become an international mobility company, in line with the strategic objectives.
In recent years, a series of initiatives has been launched, aimed at integrated mobility for passenger and freight transport along with assistance to regional transport travellers.
The Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group steps forward as an operator able to accompany travellers throughout their journey, from their front door to their final destination, adapting to the varying needs of collective mobility.
Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group intends to no longer put itself forward as a rail operator but as an operator which can accompany travellers from their doorways up to their destination, and which can adapt to the various different needs of collective mobility.
Currently 80% of people get around using private vehicles, 15% use shared methods or public transport and just 5% use railway services. So as to rebalance the shift in methods between rail and road, the group has determined that it will renew 450 trains used for regional services and purchase 3000 buses.
On the regional transport front, the new Rock and Pop trains are part of the recent fleet renewal project. More comfortable, more sustainable, and more accessible, the new trains, currently under construction, have been commissioned by Trenitalia to Hitachi Rail Italy and Alstom, respectively. The new regional train fleets - a total of 300 Rock and 150 Pop - make up the supply of 450 new convoys for an order worth over 4 billion euros which, for its economic value and number of trains, is unprecedented in Italy. Trains will be delivered beginning is spring 2019.
The new trains are 95% recyclable and will allow, starting in 2019, convoys with higher energy performance, allowing a reduction of energy consumption equal to 30% compared to previous models. The FS Italiane Group's performance was recently recognized by the financial market with the signing of the first green bond issued by a railway operator for the purchase of new trains, both for regional transport and for high-speed trains.
In the area of collective transport by road, the Busitalia Sita Nord bus fleet is being renewed with the purchase of Euro 6 motorized vehicles equipped with construction technologies and devices able to guarantee low energy consumption and increase load capacity, obtaining a substantial reduction of emissions of leachate and nitrogen oxides, compared to those of the previous generation, in addition to a significant reduction of CO2 emissions.
March 2022 saw the inauguration in the port of Messina of Iginia, the new ship with a green footprint developed by the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana. Iginia, which offers train, passenger and freight services between Messina and Villa San Giovanni, joins RFI’s fleet of ships with Messina, Villa, Scilla and the ships of its subsidiary Bluferries: Sikania, inaugurated last year, its twin Trinacria, in service since 2018, along with Enotria, Fata Morgana and Riace.
The economic investment totals 57 million euro, 7 million of which is funded by Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) for green technology.
Iginia’s propulsion system is also ensured by batteries recharged with solar panels already installed on the ship or by shore power sockets in the slipway.
In addition, innovative bilge water and sewage treatment systems are on board to ensure a more effective reduction in polluting emissions. Innovative technologies then allow zero CO₂ and greenhouse gas emissions, both in port and during entry and exit manoeuvres. Iginia has obtained ‘Green Plus’ certification – the highest certificate in the field of sustainability – from the Registro Italiano Navale (Italian Naval Register), confirming the FS Group’s commitment to the environment.
In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and combat climate change, it is necessary to shift freight traffic from road to rail. The creation of a single freight and logistics hub (Polo Mercitalia) optimises services with a coordinated and synergistic operating model, enabling the FS Italiane Group to be competitive on the market and thus contribute to the sustainable development of the country.
The Polo Mercitalia has a fleet of almost 12,000 wagons and over 500 locomotives.
With a growing awareness of the importance of pursuing an increasingly sustainable business, FS’ financial decisions have been strategic in allocating new sources of debt to the most effective investments that respect ESG principles. From 2017 to April 2021, a total of three green bonds were issued at a total of 2.3 billion euro for the introduction of 40 electric locomotives and 140 freight wagons. The latter have been designed to reduce energy consumption, vibrations and noise pollution by availing of new technologies such as parking mode and eco mode (where consumption is reduced when loads are light), a dynamic braking system that recuperates energy and a state-of-the-art air conditioning system. In addition, the new wagons also boast technological features that improve safety and reduce energy consumption.
January 2022 saw the start of Smart Train, the 15-month pilot project launched by Mercitalia Intermodal and TX Logistik AG to test the use of innovative sensors and communication technologies in combined transport. The aim is to achieve an optimal integration of digital technology for handling freight, determining room for improvement through operational, maintenance and safety processes. To do so, the two Polo Mercitalia companies shall avail of a number of their own “smart” freight wagon compositions in order to obtain a significant sample of data collected during operations.
The Mercitalia Intermodal and TX Logistik AG pilot project is pioneering given that, during testing – the results of which are expected in Spring 2023 – a large amount of operational data from combined transport shall be collated, thanks to which further fields of application for process improvement technologies could be identified.
The Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group is constantly committed to combating climate change, in particular by seeking to reduce CO2 emissions within the transport sector. In 2021 alone, Mercitalia Rail transported around 33 million tonnes of freight, saving 1.2 million tonnes of CO2.