The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation, signed on 18 March in the presence of Tunisian Foreign Affairs and Transport Ministers and the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, is divided into at least six areas of competence:
- Training (in new technology)
- Railway and maintenance engineering
- Passenger transport (management of customer services, including customer care, information, and security in stations and trains)
- Freight and logistics (diversification of services)
- Security (setting up a operational unit)
- Technical, organisational and sustainable development support
The collaboration between SNCFT and SNCF will involve setting up joint ventures, exchanging staff, providing assistance or support to management, and sending experts.
An initial agreement on security
The two railway companies will now cooperate on ensuring security. Talks began back in 2013 on setting up an operational unit for tackling security threats, fraud, and antisocial behaviour on Tunisian railways.
SNCF will support SNCFT in the process of setting up this new unit by providing advice relating to organisation, operative processes, tools, and specifications for training requirements. SNCF will tailor the support it provides based on an assessment carried out jointly between the two operators and on its own security experience on French railways.
SNCFT Chief Executive Officer Sabiha Derbel announced: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding showcases SNCFT and SNCF’s desire to further nurture the historic and exemplary collaborative ties between Tunisia and France, particularly with regard to rail. It will provide SNCFT with support in realising ambitious projects for developing its railways.”
SNCF General Secretary Stéphane Volant said: “At this moment in the history of our two countries, the Foreign Affairs ministers declared that this partnership was also of symbolic importance. French railwaymen and women can therefore take pride in the contribution they will make in strengthening Franco-Tunisian ties.”