Luxembourg's national railway company, the CFL, recently presented its annual results for 2021.
Declared "European Year of Rail" by the European Union (EU), 2021 was an opportunity for CFL Group to highlight the advantages of rail transport, particularly regarding the environment and safety (compared to road transport). 2021 was also a year of recovery for the group after a year 2020 marked by the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on its performance.
Financially, the CFL Group posted one of its best results recorded so far in 2021. The group closed the 2021 financial year with a consolidated net profit of €20.9 million, an increase of €16.3 million (or 354%) compared to 2020 (net result of €4.6 million).
Moreover, the net amount of the Group's turnover exceeded for the first time the threshold of €1 billion, going from €915.9 million in 2020 to €1,001.7 million in 2021 and thus increasing by 9.37% compared to 2020.
The result for 2021 is attributable to all the activities of the CFL Group, i.e. services provided in the context of public passenger transport, services in the field of infrastructure management rail and activities in the field of freight transport.
In the field of passenger transport, the health crisis continued to influence train use in particular in 2021. Nevertheless, the number of passengers transported increased from 14.5 million in 2020 to 16.6 million in 2021 (an increase of 14%). This followed the sharp drop in 2020, which had recorded a 42% decrease in the total number of people transported (down from 25 million passengers in 2019). The CFL Group also succeeded in maintaining a high train punctuality rate of 92.1%.
Freight activities made a very positive contribution to the overall result, achieving a consolidated net result of €6.0 million, up €5.2 million compared to 2020 (€0.8 million). 2021 was marked in this area by the launch of a new intermodal link between the Bettembourg-Dudelange terminal and Rostock, thus completing the offer to Northern Germany and Scandinavia, and by the resumption of the intermodal link with Poznan in Poland. During 2021, the new secure road centre (Centre Routier Sécurisé - CRS) and the new CFL technics workshop on the Bettembourg-Dudelange site were also put into service.
In terms of rail infrastructure, the CFL has invested, on behalf of the rail fund (Fonds du Rail), a total of €288.4 million (up 11.1% compared to 2020; amount including tax) in the modernisation, extension and maintenance of the rail network. With a record 311 construction days, these efforts are expected to have made it possible to advance ambitious infrastructure projects. Among the achievements now completed are, for example, the two new platforms and the four new tracks at Luxembourg Railway Station (Gare de Luxembourg) in service since the end of 2021. These works for the mobility of tomorrow are intended to be inclusive, in particular with infrastructures allowing unhindered access to platforms and trains. Moreover, no fewer than three footbridges equipped with lifts were inaugurated in the Luxembourg, Bettembourg and Rodange railway stations last year.
In terms of workforce, a total of 4,968 employees were working for CFL Group at the end of 2021, following the hiring of 430 new employees.
2021 also marked the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the CFL. The anniversary event was accompanied by the launch of a virtual exhibition offering various testimonies on the Group's journey during 75 eventful years. The exhibition was completed by a research project, carried out in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg, which led to the publication, in early 2022, of a scientific work on the history of the CFL Group.
Beyond the annual figures, the CFL Group continued (and continues) to promote modal shift in favour of rail and consequently the achievement of European decarbonisation objectives.
The full report can be downloaded (in French) via the following link: https://groupe.cfl.lu/getattachment/1cbc0f1d-eae9-4600-bdd6-54a2d6e4cfd4/cfl-rapport-annuel-2021-web.pdf