Thursday, 21 Jun 2012
Railway sector in France
The French railways sector is one of Europe’s biggest, accounting for around 18% of the European railways market. Growth is strong, with the market growing by 5.3% in 2011 to reach €18 billion. The rolling stock industry is worth some €4 billion annually, placing France in third place worldwide, behind Germany and China. Passenger transport remains the most lucrative segment accounting for more than 90% of turnover.
SNCF, the French historical rail operator, is by far the largest operator in passenger and freight services, although both markets have recently opened to competition. SNCF and other operators pay fees to RFF, the French rail infrastructure manager, which is responsible for carrying out modernization work on 30,000 km of French railways with an annual budget of €6.5 billion.
18 new rail lines are planned or underway over the next 5 years, including 8 high speed lines. This will offer UK businesses opportunities to supply RFF or SNCF with infrastructure related products and services
Tramways are booming, with 5 systems currently under construction and plans for 14 more. This creates opportunities for UK businesses to supply goods or services to the urban transport operators.
UK businesses can also supply components or sub assemblies to major rolling stock builders in France. This includes not only the ‘big three’ – Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens – but also smaller, more specialized manufacturers and refurbishers.
UK businesses may also find it helpful to work in partnership with a French distributor already supplying some of these customers.
Getting into the market
Many of the contracts offered by the public sector players are awarded using either open or restricted tender processes according to European Union rules.
These tenders are published in the Official Journal of the European Union or on the organisations’ websites. Generally all documents submitted must be in the French language.
The SNCF has recently launched an office dedicated to SME suppliers which receives offers and distributes them to the relevant departments. For example, an innovative lighting solution will be sent to the Sustainable Development department, the Carriage department and the Buildings department.
One way to simplify entry to the market is to sell via a French business partner who is already established with relevant clients. This can help remove barriers and speed up the process of obtaining a first order.
A good way to get a feel for the French railways market is to attend one of the relevant trade fairs, either as an exhibitor or visitor.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists based overseas - or contact your local international trade team.
Audrey Berté, British Embassy Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 44 51 33 29 or email: email@example.com.
Daniel Ashley, British Embassy Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 44 51 31 82 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
SIFER (Salon International Ferroviaire)
Date: 26-28 March 2013
Website address: www.sifer2013.com
Rail Industry Meetings Lille
Date: 7-8 March 2012 (2nd edition planned for 2014)
Website address: www.abe-industry.com/railim