Rail freight becomes key in French cereal supply chain

Source: Jose Gutierrez

SNCF Réseau, the French rail infrastructure manager, and Soufflet, a French agri-food group and cereal exporter, are cooperating to improve the position of rail freight in the cereal supply chain. The French IM will assist Soufflet by enhancing its accessibility to the French railway network, while the agri-food company commits to using more rail to transport its products.

“The cost and efficiency of the logistics chain determine the price of cereals on world markets”, explains Sufflet. As a result, using rail to transport agricultural products can prove beneficial in reducing CO2 emissions and maintaining the balance in the agri-food supply chain and compensating farmers sufficiently.

Mutual exchange

The agreement between SNCF Réseau and Sufflet is based on mutual exchange. On the one hand, the French IM will provide its expertise and help the agri-food company improve connectivity between its facilities and the main French railway network. “SNCF Réseau will provide its expertise for the maintenance of rail infrastructure of silos connected to the rail network and local support for Soufflet in its rail development projects”, highlights the French IM.

On the other hand, since SNCF Réseau will pave the way for more rail freight, Soufflet commits to implement it in practice. “Soufflet is committed to increasing the share of rail in its supplies and shipments”, said the company. At the same time, SNCF mentioned that this will not be difficult since “working together with the manufacturer makes it possible to identify its logistics and facilitate the implementation of rail flows”.

Experience already there

Experience with rail freight is already there for Sufflet since it has twelve of its facilities linked to the French national rail network, while rail plays a role even when transporting cereals for very long distances in Europe or even Asia and Africa. In 2020, the company transported 800,000 tonnes of its produce by rail, 20 per cent up compared to 2019.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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