Official opening of SBB Cargo International’s head office: Arrival in railway town Olten – with a loco naming.

Today SBB Cargo International inaugurated its new head office in Olten, marking the occasion by naming a locomotive after the town. The company, which has sites in Germany and Italy, operated more than 15,000 trains on the European north-south corridor in the first half of 2011. However, the weak euro is proving a challenge for SBB Cargo International.

SBB Cargo International today officially inaugurated its head office in the traditional railway town of Olten by naming a class Re 482 locomotive that is suitable for international operations after the town. The loco’s "godparents" were Solothurn Cantonal Councillor Esther Gassler, Head of the Cantonal Department of Economic Affairs, and Olten's mayor, Ernst Zingg. The ceremony marked the completion of the company's setup process, which has been progressing in stages since its formal foundation at the beginning of the year. "I am delighted that we have been able to establish our headquarters here in Olten, and that in so doing we are continuing a Swiss railway tradition that has existed for more than a century," said Michail Stahlhut, CEO of SBB Cargo International, at the inauguration ceremony. He went on to say that Olten was ideally located and easy to reach for the 100 or so employees who commute to work from various regions.
International freight trains have been travelling under the SBB Cargo International banner since January. "Operations have got off to a good start, but we are still overcoming the usual teething troubles," stressed Michail Stahlhut to the media. In its first six months, SBB Cargo International operated over 15,000 trains. Motive power is provided by a locomotive fleet of around 100, half of which are multi-system vehicles designed for use on international routes.

"Transport services are developing well, but the strong franc is making life difficult for us." Most of the company's revenue from its international freight services is in euros, but the cost of operating trains through Switzerland is mostly in francs. "The currency situation is having a strong negative impact on our financial development. We will therefore be unable to avoid price rises too. We have to assume that there will be a general rise in the price of rail transit shipments through Switzerland."

Step-by-step setup during continuing operations

The young company has been set up in stages since it was founded at the beginning of this year. Initially operations were managed from Basel, where SBB Cargo has its head office. To ensure operations continued to run smoothly, the move to Olten then took place in two stages. On 9 May, the first 45 employees moved into the company's new head office at Sälihof near Olten station. In July, they were followed by some 40 control centre employees, who control the more than 550 international trains operated by the company each week, as well as scheduling the necessary resources. SBB Cargo International also has its own production companies in Germany and Italy. In total, the SBB Cargo subsidiary employs around 600 people. This does not include the train drivers in Switzerland, who are still employed by SBB Cargo for the time being.

Most of SBB Cargo International's customers are intermodal transport operators. The company’s offering is geared to large customers who rely on lean and efficient rail haulage that offers Swiss precision on both intermodal and conventional block train services. Apart from operators, these include railfreight and other railway companies and companies with sufficient volume to fill entire trains, such as steel producers. SBB Cargo International also runs piggyback trains for RAlpin between Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, and Novara, Italy (via Lötschberg), and between the Swiss port of Basel Kleinhünigen and Lugano Vedeggio (via Gotthard).

For further information visit www.sbbcargo-international.comLink opens in new window.

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