posted on 3rd Nov 2021 09:42
On 26 October 2021, Akiem announced that it will build a maintenance workshop at Ostricourt (north of Douai) in northern France. It marks the extension of the Group’s European maintenance network into France and also signals its support for the growth and development of rail freight.
With a 10 million EUR investment to provide new rolling stock maintenance services at the Ostricourt–Delta3 facility, Akiem and its Akiem Technik subsidiary will provide operators with the enhanced flexibility they demand. Akiem is determined to significantly drive down current maintenance costs in France, aligning them with costs in other European markets while continuing to offer services of exceptional quality services coupled with high reliability and availability.
Fabien Rochefort, the Akiem group’s CEO, said: “Our Akiem Technik subsidiary provides maintenance operations in 17 countries across Europe on a daily basis. The new facility will consolidate its presence in France and western Europe. Our goal is to boost our financial performance and the quality of the services we offer our customers. The new site will be far more than just a workshop; it will serve as a launchpad for our strategy to develop industrial partnerships as well as innovation, training and upskilling across the entire western Europe region.“
With construction beginning in early 2022 and completion scheduled for the spring of 2023, Akiem’s new Ostricourt maintenance works will carry out mid-life overhauls on over 150 Akiem locomotives over a five-year period. In addition to this industrial activity, employees at Ostricourt will also oversee operational maintenance for Akiem rolling stock in France, Belgium and Luxembourg.
A significant portion of maintenance operations will take place at the new site, and Akiem Technik’s mobile teams will collaborate with external maintenance partners to deliver services as close as possible to where its customers need them. Akiem’s maintenance expertise will also be made available to operators that run their own rolling stock.
In choosing Ostricourt in Hauts-de-France, Akiem seeks to initiate a virtuous local circle of job creation and skilling. Numerous indirect jobs will soon follow the 60 jobs created directly by the workshop and its support functions. By working closely with local authorities, including Ostricourt council, Pévèle-Carembault multi-municipality authority, Hauts-de-France region and Nord France Invest, Akiem hopes that many small and medium-sized industrial and rail businesses will quickly emerge, creating a new excellence hub in northern France.
Akiem has also partnered with i-Trans, the transport, mobility and logistics competitiveness cluster, to look into new training opportunities for the numerous specialties involved in rolling stock maintenance, many of them in high demand. “We are constantly seeing that the French rolling stock maintenance market is far less dynamic and competitive than elsewhere in Europe. Hauts-de-France is a region where we can find the employees and develop the skills we need. We are working with i-Trans and the local authorities to identify how best to strengthen the local industrial and services ecosystem surrounding rolling stock maintenance. Providing initial and continuing training will be central to our concerns,” says Fabien Rochefort.