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Railways: a rapidly-evolving global market

The global rail market is expected to grow on average by 2.6% per year between now and 2017 and over 70% of the population will be living in cities in 2050, particularly in emerging countries.

Acknowledged French expertise in rail…

France is the world’s third rail power after China and Germany. Between 5 and 6 billion euros are likely to be invested in the railway sector over the next ten years. French know-how is fuelled by a strong demand for the development and modernisation of networks followed by significant regional orders, despite budget cuts.

ALTEN assists companies in this sector through its network of local agencies with direct links to the various R&D and development centres. Equipment manufacturers, building contractors and operators rely on the methods and services offered by the Group over the entire life cycle of the product.

But increasingly internationally oriented

The rail industry is a dynamic market driven by growth from emerging countries, which must both replace older equipment and purchase new materials to support the development of their rail networks. The high-speed network in these countries is expected to double by 2025. But more and more, these countries assign a significant portion of material manufacturing operations to local actors prior to the awarding of contracts.

It is therefore important for industry players to develop their international activities and secure support in relation to infrastructure, skills and know-how. The railway sector currently generates annual revenues of €4.2B, of which nearly €1B (22%) in exports, which are expected to double by 2020.

With its global presence, in particular in growth markets such as Eastern Europe, China and India, ALTEN supports its clients in their international strategy. The group has developed a number of standardised, but adaptable, methods and tools, to manage multi-site projects.

An export model: Tram

Three times cheaper than a metro system, quieter, able to carry more passengers than a bus, accessible to persons with reduced mobility and, above all, much “greener”, the benefits of the tram are numerous and attract more and more city planners. Yet this mode of transport had disappeared just a few years ago with the relentless advance of the family car, before coming back into fashion in the 80s. Currently, 25 French cities have at least one tram line in their transport network. Nine more cities will join them in 2014.

However, this growth in tram usage is not unique to France. Large cities are rethinking their modes of transport and tramway sales are taking off, promoted by French know-how: the USA, Spain, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and also China, India and Latin America. Recognised and proven French expertise in tram networks, rail equipment and public works thus puts French players in a strong position to corner a promising market.

ALTEN demonstrates its agility in this context through the introduction of responsive adjustments to its service portfolio. This approach requires the development of ALTEN branches on the ground, as close as possible to countries with active railway policies (established in China, India, the USA, Eastern Europe, Brazil…), and the ability to deploy services and similar rail expertise, whatever our client’s location of development.


Chine, development, emerging, France, Germany