Rail News

Italy Launches High-Speed Rail Service for Freight: Mercitalia Fast

The Italian Minister of Economic Development, Luigi Di Maio, attended the launch of FS Italiane’s new high-speed rail service for freight, the Mercitalia Fast.

Mercitalia locomotive
Mercitalia Locomotive © Thomas Naas under licence

The company says the Mercitalia Fast service is the world’s first high-speed rail service for the freight sector and marks a new era for the company’s freight business.

Starting on 7 November the new freight service will connect the Maddaloni-Marcianise terminal (north of Naples), an important link between Italy’s north and south, with the Bologna Interport, a vital logistics centre in northern Italy, via the Italian high-speed network. Services will run on weekdays and will take 3.5 hours.

The Mercitalia Fast freight train will have a load capacity that is equivalent to 18 tractor-trailers, says FS Italiane, adding that its use of rolling containers will make loading and unloading speedy and safe.

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FS Italiane estimates that this first Mercitalia Fast service will take the equivalent of 9,000 tractor-trailers off Italy’s main highway every year, reducing both road traffic volumes and polluting emissions. It says that by transporting these goods by rail rather than by road will entail a carbon emissions reduction of 80 percent.

The Minister of Economic Development, Luigi Di Maio, said:

“With the launch of the new Mercitalia service, the transport of goods enters the third millennium, as we implement a paradigm shift. WE make the movement of goods in our country fast, remarkably safe and environmentally friendly. These are the concrete actions of a government that strongly emphasises inter modality in transport.

“We are taking the first step of a broad and defined project that aims to make Italian high-speed freight transport a cutting-edge model in the European context. It is an important step for the South, which must increasingly be central to trans-European routes and which will have important employment effects.”

Marco Gross, CEO of Meritalia, said:

“Mercitalia Fast will be the first freight transport service to use the national high-speed/high-capacity rail network.

“Our goal is to offer a tailor-made service to those customers who need to deliver goods quickly, reliably, and on time, features that are increasingly in demand with the current e-commerce boom. Today we are the only operator able to offer such an innovative service. […] In the future, we plan to extend Mercitalia Fast services to other terminals located in the main Italian cities serviced by the high-speed network.”

Mercitalia Rail, which was founded in January 2016, has a consolidated turnover of more than 1 billion euros. In December 2017 it ordered 40 TRAXX DC3 locomotives from Bombardier, for which delivery is due to begin this quarter.

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