Supply Chain Week: MFD Rail: sustainable and tailor-made intermodal transport 20/03/24

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Author: Partner Article



Supply Chain Week: MFD Rail: sustainable and tailor-made intermodal transport



For three years, the new Swiss player MFD Rail has been bringing a breath of fresh air to the market as an intermodal specialist. With its experienced team, the company offers sustainable and tailor-made services for all fleet management. Its objective is to become the leader in intermodal wagon rental in Europe. The company currently has more than 3,000 wagons in its fleet, and plans to reach 10,000 wagons in the coming years.

(Credits: MFD RAIL)



The market is ready for new approaches, particularly on flexible and individual rental models. Studies also show that the rate of rental freight wagons is constantly increasing in Europe.

In recent years, the freight car rental market has consolidated, and there is now a demand for innovative alternatives. For this reason, MFD Rail believes that there is a great need for renewal and the figures indicate that the greatest growth potential for rail lies in combined transport (CT). The medium and long term growth potential is promising.

Currently, MFD Rail maintains rental contracts with renowned customers in more than 11 countries. The collaboration is complemented by numerous upstream and downstream services, such as in-depth after-sales service and personalized contact with experienced specialists.


Green and secure financing

In terms of capitalization, MFD Rail relies on solid and established partners, as well as on a growth plan guaranteed by contract. For customers, it is a guarantee of reliability and continuity. Indeed, equity financing is provided by funds advised by Oaktree Capital Management LP and the four founding partners, while growth financing is provided by a larger banking consortium - the bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau IPEX, as " global coordinator".

The KfW commercial bank is providing a total of 500 million euros with green financing launched for the first time as "bookrunner and underwriter". By 2025, this funding will make it possible to acquire more than 6,000 new railcars. In addition, future financing has already been decided.

Modern wagon manufacturers are exclusively European, based in neighboring countries. The long-term manufacturing capacities ensure continuous production and permanent delivery of new wagons, thanks to advance purchases of stocks from subcontractors, without disruption to delivery.

Wagons that meet sustainability challenges

The high demands characterizing MFD Rail go beyond delivery security, flexibility and reliability. They also meet ambitious expectations in terms of sustainability.




The company has entered into an agreement with KfW IPEX Bank for an exclusively “green” use of financing, called the “Green Loan Framework”. This collaboration supports MFD Rail in its ecological and sustainable growth strategy, which is why the use of intermodal wagons excludes certain goods, such as fossil fuels. MFD Rail further supports the RFFI's European Rail Freight Vision 2030 and obliges its customers, in the rental contract, not to transport goods that conflict with this.

Intelligent wagons thanks to the latest technologies

As part of the continued development of its fleet, MFD Rail is banking on the latest generation of container wagons and pocket wagons. In addition, all wagons are equipped with telematics and sensors, handbrake and low-noise brake and are predisposed for digital automatic coupling. The intelligent freight car was designed from the ground up. Thanks to location and sensors, combined with advanced data analysis and artificial intelligence, it makes it possible to offer new services to customers and therefore new business models for MFD Rail.

Unexpected wagon breakdowns due to unknown usage and/or inefficient use of rented wagons are aspects that are not well received by customers. The “transparent” wagons continuously provide data on the basis of which critical situations are identified, allowing MFD Rail to act proactively.

All processes are digitalized and open to new business models. The young company relies on the most recent technological standards and orients its processes and services according to the needs of its customers.

Simplified and secure handling

In order to increase the safety and profitability of rail transport of semi-trailers, MFD Rail has developed a “fifth wheel” safety concept. The system continuously monitors the position of the semi-trailer during loading, driving and unloading, and thus makes an important contribution to accident prevention and cost savings in this industry.

In collaboration with a renowned manufacturer, MFD Rail has built a new type of wagon that significantly simplifies the handling of non-gripable semi-trailers. Using an integrated basket, a semi-trailer is transferred from road to rail and vice versa in record time, particularly using conventional lifting devices. Unlike solutions with traditional handling pallets, this does not require additional logistics or associated financial effort. This so-called “basket wagon” allows logistics companies to travel long distances by rail quickly and inexpensively while respecting the environment.



The MFD Rail team will be present for the first time at the SITL 2024 edition.