TX LOGISTIK, the subsidiary of Italian State Railways’ (FS) freight business Mercitalia, has become the second-largest freight operator in Germany after taking over the Hamburg-based Exploris Deutschland Holding and its operating businesses HSL Logistik, Delta Rail and Via Cargo.

The Exploris companies are fully licensed to operate freight trains in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Switzerland, and also provide shunting services in Poland and Germany.

The acquisition also gives TX Logistik valuable access to the staff training academy operated by Exploris at time when the rail sector is facing a shortage of qualified staff.

Established in 1999 and operating in 11 countries, including Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, TX Logistik moved 9 billion tonne-km in 2022 and recorded turnover of €298m.

Last year Exploris reported turnover of €120m and carried 16 million tonnes of freight. Its subsidiaries operate around 240 trains per week, serving the automotive, agricultural and steel sectors, as well as moving fuel, oils and gypsum.

TX Logistik expects the acquisition to increase is turnover to over €500m a year. Around 500 Exploris employees will join TX Logistik, taking total staff numbers to 1200. The fleet of 75 locomotives operated by Exploris will join the 91-strong TX Logistik fleet.

TX Logistik says that the expansion of its operations through the acquisition of Exploris offers the opportunity to introduce new freight services, particularly to and from Italy.

The company’s prime focus is on intermodal traffic between northern and southern Europe, while Exploris has been more active in east-west flows and brings more general traffic to TX Logistik.

The takeover is subject to approval by the European Union (EU) competition authorities.

“This transaction confirms our determination to grow our logistics business internationally to develop import and export traffic from our country and to support goods that are made in Italy,” says Mercitalia Logistics CEO, Ms Sabrina de Filippis.

“Furthermore, with this acquisition we are building strong foundations for modal shift to rail, which is one of the objectives of the EU.”