Tata Steel’s Long Products Europe business (soon to be British Steel) will continue to supply French rail operator SNCF for at least five more years after a new deal was signed.
The company’s rail mill in Hayange, north-eastern France, has supplied the French network for more than 130 years. With Tata Steel and previously Corus, being SNCF’s main rail supplier since 1999 the contract renewal will see that continue for the next five years with an extension option for a further four years.
The company will supply the bulk of SNCF’s 750,000 tonne requirements of high-quality rail over the duration of the renewed contract in lengths of up to 108 metres from its Hayange facility.
Rail Sector Head, Gérard Glas, said: "This contract will provide a valuable foundation for our future order book and keeps SNCF at the very heart of our focus for delivering customer satisfaction in terms of quality products and services.”
The Hayange rolling mill is supplied with steel from British Steel’s steelworks in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, in the UK.
The contract re-signing follows a €35 million investment by Tata Steel in 2011 which allowed the Hayange mill to produce 108m lengths of rail that SNCF will use throughout France’s standard and high-speed networks.
Gérard added: “This contract win has been made possible by our continued drive to be more customer focused. By working closely with SNCF, by learning from them and by developing the products and services they need, we have shown the benefits close working relationships like this can bring.”
Jacques Rapoport, President of SNCF, said: "This contract provides visibility to our industrial partners. We wanted to develop this type of long-term contract for three reasons: to increase our rail capacity to cope with an unprecedented workload to renovate the existing network, to improve our manufacturing efficiency by providing additional scope for innovation and finally to challenge our processes to enable continuous improvement."
Hayange is one of the most technically advanced rail mills in the world, producing a broad range of products including world leading heat-treated grades designed to cope with high-traffic and heavy freight traffic.
As well as long length and heat-treated rail, Hayange will supply Sogenox® - an innovative type of rail which enables the train’s location to be communicated through the track using electrical signals. Sogenox rail ensures those signals can be transmitted in even low traffic areas when normal rail can become oxidised which disrupts electrical connections.