News detail

1st april 2011

Premier Port Ferroviaire de France

This Thursday Dunkerque-Port took part in the "National Rail Lines Conference" organised by French Railways RFF as part of the International Transport and Logistics Week (SITL) which is taking place in Paris this week.

Martine Bonny, Chair of Dunkerque-Port's Executive Committee, was one of the speakers at the round table to present Dunkirk, France's leading rail port, which handled more than 10 MT in 2010. Dunkerque-Port is also the first port to have become a rail infrastructure manager. Its shipper clients need high-quality, reliable railway lines. RFF's current working plan, which is necessary in view of the condition of the infrastructures, is accompanied by an innovative approach in the Nord-Pas de Calais Region, where RFF, Dunkerque-Port and Fret SNCF (French Rail Freight) work every day on the quality of the lines to keep trains running during the works.

1 - Port of Dunkirk: an established rail base
2008 was an exceptional year for the Port in terms of alternative transport modes, with more than 14 MT (5 MT marine traffic and 9 MT transit traffic in the port area). Following the crisis the traffic volume is closer to 10 MT, 3.5 MT of it marine traffic. The proportion of alternative transport has fallen to nearly 40% for rail, compared with 51% in 2008 after a period of steady growth between 2000 and 2008. Nevertheless, the potential for traffic from Dunkirk remains very high. RFF estimates that the Port could handle more than 21 MT from the Grande-Synthe marshalling yard.

On 15 October 2010 Dunkirk became the first port to manage rail infrastructures, followed by several other French ports. It assumes the sole management of its 200 kilometres of railway lines and the related infrastructures. In January 2010 it selected the company Europorte Services to manage and operate its railway lines for seven years. In its implementation of the August 2005 order, the Port enjoys the help and support of RFF in the framework of a five-year partnership agreement signed on 21 October.

2 – Partnership between RFF Nord-Pas de Calais and Dunkerque-Port

Since 21 October 2009, RFF Nord-Pas de Calais and Dunkerque-Port have been committed to a long-term partnership with the following aims:

• to support the port in its development,
• to communicate with Dunkerque-Port about development prospects and their transformation into market shares in rail and the required railway lines,
• to produce a commercial and technical offer adapted to the needs of pre-routing and on-forwarding by rail,
• to communicate about "good practice" as infrastructure managers, particularly as regards the transfer of port railway lines.
The Port and RFF have cooperated actively and efficiently in all these areas for several years. The technical and commercial teams are involved in all the major projects which concern the Port (large-scale port works, development and modernisation of the national rail network which affects the port directly, operation, planning of routes, and so on).