Sifer 2015 draws infrastructure firms

first_imgFRANCE: No less than 22% of the exhibitors participating in the ninth Sifer trade fair taking place in Lille on March 24-26 will be first-time entrants, according to organisers Mack Brooks Exhibitions. Around 400 companies are participating in the event, which is expected to attract up to 5000 visitors.This is a pivotal time for the French rail industry, as the new structure for the state-owned operating and infrastructure management businesses starts to take shape following the implementation of the railway reforms on January 1. Citing uncertainty over the past two or three years, industry association FIF says the home market is ‘sluggish’, reporting a 16% fall in activity last year. This has led many companies to focus on growing their export business, with major contractors, equipment suppliers and sub-contractors looking for opportunities in the international market. Despite the overall decline, infra­struc­ture spending in France has risen significantly in recent years. This is due in part to the various high speed line projects underway (p38), but also reflects growing pressure to accelerate renewals on the core network and overcome a backlog of maintenance. According to FIF, infrastructure spending was up by 14·7% in the year to September 2014. Not surprisingly, infrastructure exhibitors are set to occupy almost one-third of the total floor space at Sifer 2015, including three lengths of demonstration track to showcase rail-mounted vehicles and equipment. Newly-unified infrastructure manager SNCF Réseau will be participating, while Eurovia subsidiary ETF has become the show’s first official infrastructure partner. Other prominent exhibitors include East Japan Railway, which is looking to expand its European presence, as well as the European Railway Agency, which is headquartered in nearby Valenciennes. Reflecting a growing trend for cross-industry co-operation, Sifer 2015 will host eight pavilions for regional business clusters and investment agencies. Seven French regions will be represented, including the Northern France Rail association covering Nord-Pas de Calais and Picardie, the Mecateam Cluster from Bourgogne’s Creusot-Montceau economic region, MipyRail Innovation of Midi-Pyrénées and Neopolia Rail from Pays-de-la-Loire, which together formed the Railway Business Cluster in 2013. These will be joined by an Île-de-France pavilion organised by the Seine-et-Marne Chamber of Industry & Commerce and a similar pavilion from the Alsace Region CCI. Neighbouring Belgium will be represented by the national technology industry federation Agoria, which has more than 60 members associated with the rail sector, plus the Walloon Export & Foreign Investment Agency Awex.Visit Railway Gazette at Sifer 2015 on stand 1/129last_img

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