In what is France’s biggest-ever rail freight investment programme, the government has announced a plan to invest $11.8bn in rail freight transport infrastructure over the next ten years.

The plan, ‘Freight for the future’, plans to grow the freight business of state-owned railway SNCF to 25% of the overall railway by 2022, an increase from the current 14%.

The current figure of 14% is a fall from 21% in 1996 and is due to the rising popularity of roadways and the prevalence of foreign rail firms on international routes.

Of the total investment, the government will spend $10.3bn and the remaining $1.5bn would come from SNCF.

Money would be used on various infrastructure projects such as on loading and offloading areas, cargo corridors, high-speed freight services, rail truck shuttles and TGV routes for goods transport and local and regional rail freight networks.

A new port freight service will also be set up in Le Havre and La Rochelle.