Italian national railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Italian shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), intended to boost rail and sea connections across Italian and European ports.

The MoU sets out the creation of a “NewCo” which aims to expand freight transport logistics across the maritime and rail sectors.

The new company will be jointly owned and operated. Mercitalia Logistics, a subsidiary of FS, will maintain a 51% stake, while Medlog, a company under MSC, will operate a 49% stake.

Mercitalia Logistics CEO Sabrina De Filippis emphasised how this agreement will help increase freight capabilities.

Filippis said: “The agreement is part of the actions of our Industrial Plan, which provides for the strengthening of existing terminals and the creation of new multimodal hubs, technologically advanced and with low impact on the environment.

“This will allow us to increase the volumes of goods transported by train, also thanks to increasingly effective connections of our ports and terminals to the national network and to the European railway corridors, consolidating the integration of sea-rail-road transport systems.”

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FS stated how this project will allow them to reach their goals of supporting the development of the Italian economy through the “ever-increasing use of rail mobility”.

As a result of the agreement, additional terminal capacity will be created, boosting port services and providing a competitive alternative to road transport, as well as movement on the Italy-Northern Europe axis.

This announcement follows the companies signing a previous MoU in 2022, which focused on finding mutual interest in a combined maritime business.

In October, MSC announced a binding agreement to acquire a 50% stake in Italo, with the dealing giving the Italian high-speed rail operator an enterprise value of €4.2bn ($4.4bn).