Take the train, it's cheaper

1Lt. Andrea Riccardo Agnella
First published June 20, 2003

The first and biggest railway transportation of materials to Italy took place in Sarajevo freight Station 'Teretna' from May 23 to 28. It has been a real revolution in the traditional policy of deployment and re-deployment of the Italian SFOR contingent. Previously, up to this contingent, that kind of operation was generally executed by road and sea.

Sarajevo - The deployment of the 5th Alpine Regiment and the re-deployment of the 2nd Alpine Regiment involved more than 180 vehicles, 40 containers and 70 people. A real milestone for Italian logistic 'in operations': for the first time in SFOR history the shipping of all vehicles and materials belonging to incoming and outgoing units has been fulfilled by railway.
Cheaper and without problems
There was a new air streaming inside the German - Italian Battle Group (GE-IT BG): willing of change. Cost saving related to logistic effectiveness always pushes logistic men to discover new solutions for operations. The improvement of the general conditions of railway in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the commitment of the staff permitted the success of the operation.
Representatives from GEIT BG Group G4, HQ SFOR Joint Movement Co-ordination Centre (JMCC) and Bosnian Railways were in charge for the organisation, planning and execution process. Last but not least, the Italian Logistic National Element (GSA) played a key role in all the physical part of the work giving all the available personnel means for loading and lashing materials.
Personnel belonging to the Italian SFOR contingent worked very hard to unload, load, build and lash trains. Loading and lashing operations were conducted with a high level of professionalism showing an amazing consciousness. "Seeing all our logistic means depart to home country is the visible sign that your mission is due to finish… A bit sad but that's it," said Italian 1Lt. Alessandro Cicellini, G.S.A. Officer.
Railway Logistic Operations
All the organisation was bright acting all the procedures in order to safe all the vehicles and insure a smooth back journey. "The railway is definitely the cheapest and no - problem kind of transportation. I hope that the next contingent will also follow the way we have walked in these weeks, taking in account the real advantages in the use of this method," underlined Capt. Gregorio Dimitri, GEIT BG Deputy G4. HQ SFOR JMCC was the point of contact between the Italian personnel and the Bosnian Railways: "It has been the first time I've dealt with Italians concerning railway transportation. I have to say it was really interesting and professional," said German Sgt 1st Class Christian Kühlem, JMMC Rail Ops NCO.
Railways logistic operations are common and well know in a military environment. The factors to be taken in account are numerous: number of vehicles to be transported, distance to cover, facilities and services available in the loading / destination rail station. "I think this operation opened a new horizon in transportation opportunities for the Italian contingent," said WO Francesco Biasciucci.
The freight Railway Station 'Teretna' is less than 400 meters far from the Tito Barracks compound. This allowed the pre-loading work to be smooth, avoiding the use of Assembly Areas far from the loading point. This Railway Logistic Operation signalled the end of this Italian contingent and was carried out in the best way.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Italy

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Photos: 1Lt. Andrea Riccardo Agnella

Italian tracked vehicles are ready to head back to their country.


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Even by rail, all vehicles must be tightly fastened.


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No assembly point: it is easy to directly load from the truck to the wagon.