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A Retiring Glance At Trade – Past, Present And Future

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January 2011

1. Please provide a company background including when it was established, where it is located, how many staff you employ etc.


Arriva is one of the largest transport services organisations in Europe. Whilst the origins of the company go back to the 1930s, it started to build its public transport port folio in the 1980s, changing its name to Arriva in 1997. In 2010 Arriva became part of the, German based, Deutsche Bahn group.


Our head office is located in Sunderland with other offices in Derby, London and Luton. The New Business Development activity is based out of our Derby presence.


As well as the UK we are active in 10 countries across Europe.

Arriva currently employs over 38, 000 people delivering over one billion passenger journeys every year.


2. Please provide an overview of the products and services offered and areas of specialism.


Our fleet of over 14, 000 buses provide commercial and tendered international, long distance, regional and urban services right across the continent.


In seven countries we also have extensive heavy-rail operations with over 600 trains operating around 110 million km of tendered services each year covering busy suburban networks to regional and rural services.


We also operate water taxi services in two countries and have, through joint ventures, significant light-rail operations in Portugal.


3. How did you find out about EMITA and what benefits do you find most valuable?


We are long standing members of UKTI and through them we were informed of EMITA. The benefits of using EMITA for us are mostly gathering information and contacts both for new and existing territories. And meeting other companies involved in exporting.


4. How long has your country been active in the export/import market and which countries do you currently trade with?


Arriva’s first international business was established in 1997 in Denmark. Since then we have spread into the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. Until last year we also had a significant presence within the German bus and rail markets.


5. What made you decide to expand your business overseas?


The provision of public transport services in the UK were progressively liberalised and privatised through the 1980s and 1990s ahead of most other European countries. Given that there was a rapid consolidation of the sectors within the UK, Arriva decided to use its expertise, in commercialising and privatising public transport companies, by seeking to enter new markets. Unlike its UK pier group, Arriva decided to initially focus geographical diversification within EU member states.


6. What has been your biggest exporting/importing challenge?

Creating the opportunity! Probably the fact that the provision of public transport has historically been provided by the public sector and has been considered as a social service, as opposed to an industrial sector. As a result of this our prospecting has included a significant element of “educating” public bodies of the advantages that public/private partnerships can bring.


7. What’s the most helpful piece of international trade advice you have received?

Sorry, more than one!

o        Have a very clearly defined and corporately “signed off” strategy

o        Never under estimate the amount of research (desktop and fieldwork) that you need to undertake in order to fully understand a new potential market and to help you to prioritise

o        Do not attempt to conquer a whole country/market- develop a strong, economically sustainable base for your market entry position

o        Remember that you may have the technical competence but you probably need to “acquire” detailed local market knowledge.

o        If your first knowledge of a new market entry opportunity is when a tender procedure is advertised, it’s too late!


8. What does the future hold? Any particular markets you are looking to target next?

We are a constantly expanding business and seek both organic growth and opportunities to enter new territories or the provision of new transport modes within existing countries. Currently we are also considering other world regions.


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