Message from the CEO
AN INTERVIEW WITH ALAIN RIBAT, CEO OF VFLI
The sole railway operator proposing a fully comprehensive offer (freight trains, railway logistics operations for industrial sites and railway maintenance machinery), VFLI continues to enjoy sound and solid growth in pursuit of its ambition to become the preferred railway operator on the market.
VFLI, provider of comprehensive, made-to-measure solutions for the rail freight business
In 2016, despite unfavourable market conditions, VFLI once again recorded further year-on-year growth. What is the secret of this success?
The market was indeed somewhat lifeless in 2016. Nevertheless, VFLI's turnover increased by 10%. We continue to pursue a dual objective: to continue to grow while also remaining profitable.
How do you envisage sustaining this growth?
First of all, by continuing to focus on our fundamentals, i.e. the safety of our operations and the quality of the service that we provide to our clients. Next, by continuing with our recruitment policy (150 new hires in 2016) along with training for our drivers and ground operators, not forgetting our management staff. Last but not least, by bringing innovation to our service offer and our processes.
What synergies exist between your different markets?
VFLI is the only rail operator to propose end-to-end solutions, from logistics operations and rail transport to industrial sites through to haulage via the national rail network: this provides opportunities for synergies and therefore welcome cost-savings for our clients and also reduces the number of interfaces between our logistics partners.
The volume of freight transported in France has remained stable for several years now. What can be done to widen your market and to win back market share from the road haulage companies?
First and foremost, the stabilization of rail freight volumes in recent years is a positive sign after years of decline. Furthermore, a certain number of our clients would like to rely even more heavily on rail transport. To help them to achieve this aim we have to simplify things for them by providing client-focused solutions, reducing fixed costs and being innovative.
You have been working on implementing a new strategic plan. What are the key stakes for VFLI?
Our primary stake is to consolidate our established business portfolio (i.e. freight trains, logistics for industrial sites and railway maintenance rolling stock).
At the same time, we are pursuing three objectives:
- to develop new value-added services, in particular at international level and in ports,
- to upgrade our organization for the industrial production sector,
- … while maintaining high levels of safety, quality and innovation.
What is the most treasured memory of Alain Ribat, VFLI CEO?
" I really enjoy experiencing at first-hand the pleasure that geographically-dispersed VFLI teams take in meeting up and sharing moments of great conviviality. Conventions, seminars, football tournaments… so many opportunities to get together and to share their passion for their work. Our employees' devotion and sense of engagement is clearly felt by our clients."
"I would also like to praise the dynamism and commitment of our teams, who each and every day give the very best of themselves to serve our clients." Alain Ribat, VFLI CEO