Hauling opportunities from Franco-Italian rail link

The Turin–Lyon high-speed railway is one of the projects providing major opportunities for hauler manufacturers in Europe, involving extensive earth-moving and construction.
Loading, Hauling & Excavation / March 20, 2023
By Liam McLoughlin
The €25bn Turin-Lyon railway project will require robust and reliable hauling equipment. Image: TELT
The €25bn Turin-Lyon railway project will require robust and reliable hauling equipment. Image: TELT

Having recently marked one year since its rebrand in September 2021, articulated  hauler manufacturer Rokbak is looking to expand its operations in key territories including France and Germany.

The Scotland-based, Volvo CE-owned manufacturer says there are major opportunities in the hauling machines sector from major current infrastructure initiatives in Europe.

One of the prominent projects on the radar in Western Europe is the rail connection between France and Italy, a collaboration partly financed by the European Union. The Turin–Lyon high-speed railway is a rail line under construction between the cities of Turin and Lyon. It is intended to link the Italian and French high-speed rail networks and will be 270km (170 miles) long.

The core of the project is its international section, which will cross the Alps through the Mont d’Ambin Base Tunnel between the Susa Valley in Piedmont and Maurienne in Savoie, and at 57.5 kilometres (35.7 miles), it will be the longest rail tunnel in the world. The estimated total cost of the line is €25bn and it will involve extensive earth-moving and construction.

“This is exactly the type of project Rokbak’s RA30 and RA40 are designed for,” says Rokbak regional sales manager EMEA Paul Culliford. “Large infrastructure projects require robust and reliable equipment that delivers high productivity and low total cost of ownership in tough conditions.”

Rokbak has been strengthening its team with around 200 new employees joining the company in the last year, one of whom is Culliford.

“France and Germany are historically strong markets for us,” Culliford explains. “We are seeing an increase in demand and we are currently looking to expand our dealer network in France and Germany to support our customers and strengthen our presence in these important hauler markets.”

Rokbak says its haulers are well-suited for projects like the Turin-Lyon railway
Rokbak says its haulers are well-suited for projects like the Turin-Lyon railway

Rokbak says the numbers reflect this move. In 2020 there were around 200 units sold – across all brands – within the articulated hauler market in France. In 2021, that increased to in excess of 300 and it looks to be a similar number in 2022. In Germany the numbers were around 150 in 2020 and 2021, heading towards 200 in 2022.

Rokbak already has machines working on French and German job sites. In Germany, an RA30 is working at a gravel pit for earthworks specialist Erdbau Schrader. The machine was sold through one of Rokbak’s German dealers, Klarmann-Lembach.

One of Rokbak’s French dealers, Framateq, which covers the south east of the country, recently inaugurated a new site in Perpignan. And the Manu Lorraine Group, which covers the north east, held an open day at Walygator Park in Maizières-les-Metz. Culliford also attended the French Mineral Industries Society (SIM) exhibition together with Framateq in October.

“Rokbak’s articulated haulers are reliable, simple to operate and easy to maintain,” says Mathieu Godard, president of Framateq. “They are fuel-efficient and deliver low total cost of ownership, which is what our customers want. We have a strong articulated hauler market in France and we have recently opened a new site to better support our customers and expand our operations, so it’s great that Rokbak is prioritising our market and sees the same potential as we do for growth.”

Working closely with existing and new dealers and customers is Culliford’s priority. With close to two decades of experience in the articulated hauler industry – including a previous tenure with Rokbak before the company rebranded – and possessing fluency in English, French, German and Spanish, Culliford is able to work with a multitude of targeted territories as the company looks to expand its operations.

“It’s a great opportunity and an exciting time to come back to Rokbak,” he says. “Since relaunching the brand, we’ve found that there are a lot of dealers and customers interested to learn more about our articulated haulers, and I’m looking forward to working with them.”

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