John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight (GBRf) has been appointed the new CEO of parent company Hector Rail Group and will assume his new role and responsibilities from Monday 8th January 2018.
Commenting on this appointment, Bo Lerenius, Hector Rail’s Chairman said:
“With a solid background of developing and growing companies, John Smith has full insight of the challenges and opportunities that Hector Rail Group currently faces. The board is confident that John’s clear customer perspective and strong leadership will drive Hector Rail Group to become the leading independent pan-European rail freight operator.”
John Smith added:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to build on what we started with GBRf, and to bring the knowledge that I have gained to our parent company. I plan to take that knowledge to Hector Rail, to continue to demonstrate the importance of rail freight in sustainable economic growth. I feel there are significant opportunities at closer co-operation between the operators across Europe, and I hope to be the voice for that effort.”
Duncan Clark, GBRf’s Strategic Development Director, said:
“We are all obviously delighted for John that he is being given this opportunity, and believe this is a great chance for the good practice that GBRf has developed over the years to be implemented with Hector Rail. We are sure that he will make excellent use of this chance to cement his position as the pre-eminent spokesman for the rail freight sector in the UK, and become its leader across Europe.”
John Smith founded GB Railfreight in 1999 and is the company’s Managing Director. He has over 40 years of experience from the rail industry, including various leading positions at British Rail and Anglia Railways.
Founded in 2004, Hector Rail is a Swedish-based independent train haulage provider for the European rail transport market. They produce approximately 7.2m train km/year in operations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Germany.
They provide modern rail solutions with the highest quality and performance, creating value for customers through innovative and efficient solutions. Clients include industrial shippers, forwarders, intermodal operators, and traditional railway companies.
A company spokesman said:
“GBRf will not be embarking on the recruitment of a new managing director straightaway. The strong executive team, Duncan Clark, Lee Armstrong, Ian Langton, Karl Goulding-Davis and Bob Tiller, will manage things and report directly to John in his new role.”
Separately, GBRf has taken delivery of the first of its brand new, purpose-built IIA hoppers, which will be used to transport sand on behalf of Sibelco from Middleton Towers in East Anglia to Barnby Dun, Monk Bretton and Goole in Yorkshire.
The hoppers, produced in Poland, will enter service in the coming weeks. Each of the 41 hoppers can hold up to 70 t so that shorter, 14-wagon trains can be deployed that will still deliver the same tonnage.
Additionally, empty wagons can travel at up to 120 km/h, so that the southbound routes to East Anglia require less time.