DFDS Acquires Rail Freight Company PrimeRail


DFDS announced that it has acquired rail transport firm primeRail. With the acquisition of the German railway operator, the firm took action to establish a new business unit. We congratulate DFDS for this great step taken in order to realize its goals in the field of intermodal transport by combining ferry and rail transport.

After PrimeRail was founded in 2019, it started to operate in land and sea logistics concepts by combining rail and road transportation. Two years ago, DFDS established a new “Intermodal Transportation Competence Center” in Cologne in cooperation with primeRail in order to provide intermodal transportation solutions to its customers.

primeRail's acquisition of DFDS is planned to be completed within one year.

Peder Gellert Pedersen, DFDS Vice Chairman of the Executive Board and Head of the Ferry Department, shared his views on the subject, stating that it is a critically important strategic step for their company, and that it meets these conditions as the right partner with similar values ​​and commercial approach. Noting that they connect the ports to the land terminals by rail, Pedersen said that they are able to offer a problem-free and environmentally friendly transportation network to their customers and the society.

PrimeRail will be established within DFDS as a new business area covering primeRail company and DFDS's intermodal transportation activities. The rail business will operate under the Mediterranean Business Unit, headed by Patrick Zilles, primeRail's current CEO.

Patrick Zilles, DFDS Vice President and Head of Railway, who will report to Lars Hoffmann, Head of DFDS Mediterranean Business Unit, said, “Since mid-2018, when we bought our Turkey network, we have learned how much value our train solutions can add to our business model and network. It was an expected development to expand our railway unit while expanding our transport network by focusing more on green solutions. Since 2018 we have doubled our weekly train services and therefore we had to take the next step. Together with our ferry services and logistics services, we see that the demand for rail transport is increasing. Our collaboration with primeRail enables us to benefit from more intermodal solutions. Customers can leave their goods at our terminals in Turkey and receive them in Europe very close to their destination.” said.

PrimeRail's Founder and CEO, Patrick Zilles, expressed his happiness to see that their company will be an important part of one of Europe's leading ferry networks after their cooperation.

Patrick Zilles noted that now as part of DFDS, they will maximize mobility with cost-effective and innovative intermodal transport solutions.

DFDS Mediterranean Business Unit is investing more in intermodal transport solutions combining ferry and rail transport. About 50% of all freight volumes passing through DFDS's Trieste terminal are transported by rail to destinations in Europe today.

Lars Hoffmann, Head of DFDS Business Unit Mediterranean, said: “We are investing heavily in intermodal customer solutions to ensure a reliable, high-quality and uninterrupted transport network. Together with our ferry routes and logistics services, we see an increasing demand for rail transport. Our partnership with PrimeRail enables us to offer additional intermodal solutions. Customers can drop off their units at our terminals in Turkey and pick them up very close to their final destination in Europe.”

As part of its long-term cooperation with primeRail, DFDS will establish an “Operational Competence Center” in Troisdorf/Cologne, in addition to the already established “Commercial Competence Centre”. Focusing on rail services will provide opportunities to further expand and optimize operations.

Operations will continue until 2022

It is a strategic priority for DFDS Mediterranean Business Unit to further develop rail and thus intermodal transport solutions to support both efficiency and more climate-friendly transport modes. As part of the agreement, PrimeRail becomes the contracting partner of DFDS for rail suppliers such as rail operators, rail terminals and rail operators.

Today, rail transport is one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transport, with an average of 139,8 g / tkm CO2 emissions per ton-kilometer (tkm), compared to the 15,6 g/tkm CO2 emissions of road transport. (Source: *European Environment Agency)

In addition, primeRail and DFDS share the same values ​​of customer focus and timely reliable solutions, initially centered in Central Europe. Founded in Cologne, PrimeRail continues to expand to become a hub for office, rail and intermodal service solutions. Activities for the rest of Europe will be expanded later.

More than 80 train services per week

DFDS Business Unit Mediterranean, from Trieste to Cologne (12 x Weekly Round-trip), Bettembourg (7 x Weekly Round-trip), Wels/Lambach (8 x Weekly Round-trip), Ostrava (3 x Weekly Round-trip) and Nuremberg (2 x It operates mainly 5 train lines of the company, including Weekly Roundtrip. DFDS Mediterranean Business Unit provides more than 80 train services per week to and from Trieste on a regular schedule.

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