BLS Cargo has announced having signed an agreement to acquire the Belgian rail freight operator Crossrail. BLS Cargo is the second Swiss rail freight operator. BLS Cargo is a subsidiary of BLS which is the main competitor of the Swiss incumbent. However SNCF Fret is shareholder of BLS Cargo with 45% of its shares.
Before, Crossrail was owned by Rhenus, a private equity fund. According to the CEO of BLS Cargo Dirk Stahl “As freight corridor service provider, Crossrail is very similar to BLS Cargo”. He also notices that both companies are a geographically perfect match. The acquisition of Crossrail will strengthen BLS Cargo position in Belgium (the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge) and more in general on the north-south freight corridor.
Overall this acquisition should not have a significant impact on the rail freight market in Belgium. However, it can be observed that this acquisition could indirectly reinforce the position of the French incumbent SNCF Fret in Belgium.