RAIL Cargo Group (RCG), the freight business of Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), announced the acquisition of Captrain Netherlands on May 31. The Dutch subsidiary of French National Railways (SNCF) has been sold to RCG for an undisclosed price.

RCG says that the Netherlands is of geographical and strategic significance for the company, due to the direct connections between the ARA Ports (Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam) and Germany and the location of key rail corridors and terminals, including Geleen and Moerdijk, in the Netherlands.

Captrain Netherlands started operations in 2007, focusing on the Geleen and Moerdijk terminals, as well as the Port of Rotterdam. The company currently has 61 employees and in 2022 recorded turnover of €12.2m and operated 765 million tonne-kms. The third largest freight operator in the Netherlands, it has a fleet of seven locomotives.

“With the expansion of our own traction network we will also be able to handle our TransFER connections end to end using our own traction in the future,” says RCG CEO, Mr Clemens Först. “Operating with our own staff and locomotives brings cost benefits as well as greater flexibility, which is ultimately good for our customers.”

The sale of Captrain Netherlands is part of the disbanding of Fret SNCF announced last year, as a result of the European Commission (EC) investigation into illegal state subsidies.

RCG is currently engaged in expanding its operations. Earlier this month the company announced the creation of a second subsidiary in Serbia, after forming on May 23 a joint venture with Transfera, one of the largest logistics operators in the Western Balkans. RCG first entered the Serbian market in January 2023 with the establishment of a subsidiary to allow it to tap into the growing freight flows to and from Turkey.