More traffic, less income for Renfe Mercancias

The Spanish rail freight company Renfe Mercancías witnessed a slight increase in traffic volumes despite its financial losses in Q1 2019. The volumes surged to 4.64 million tonnes in the first three months, an increase of 2.4 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The vast majority of the volumes carried by Renfe Mercancías was domestic traffic. This totalled 3.8 million tonnes in Q1 2019, 2.2 per cent more year-on-year and accounting for 81 per cent of the total tonnage. International traffic totalled only 841,000 tonnes, but witnessed a higher year-on-year growth: 3.4 per cent.

Multimodal traffic

Multimodal traffic was the driver of growth, reaching 1.6 million tonnes in Q1 2019, 9.7 per cent more than the same period last year. In addition, it enjoyed a 14.4 per cent year-on-year growth in May 2019, reaching 524,000 tonnes. Complete wagon volumes fell by 4 per cent to 2.8 million tonnes in Q1 2019 compared with the same quarter in the previous year, and by 13.2 per cent to 852,000 tonnes in May 2019, year on year.

The Spanish still hosts some thousand kilometres of one-metre gauge railway, although most of these tracks have been closed in other European countries. Renfe manages 1,207 kilometres of one-metre gauge tracks. In the first three months of this year, 310,000 tonnes was transported over these railways, 40.3 per cent more than in Q1 2018. However, the volumes in March saw a year-on-year decline; 76,000 tonnes of freight were transported over these lines, 24.4 per cent less than in March 2018.

Financial loss

Renfe Mercancias suffered a loss of 8.75 million Euros in the first quarter of this year, despite its locomotive and wagon auction. The company obtained a total income of 3.8 million Euros as a result the auction, 75 per cent less than initially estimated.

Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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