15th Anniversary: An association focused on boosting and bonding of the railway secto

Special, Mafex 15th Anniversary


The Spanish 15th Anniversary: An association focused on boosting and bonding of the railway sector Railway Association (MAFEX) celebrates its 15th Anniversary. It was in the summer of 2004 when Fundigex-Spanish Association of Foundry Exporters, an association belonging to Grupo AGEX, a federation to which MAFEX belongs, promoted the creation of an association of exporters in which to group the interests in terms of promotion foreign and internationalisation of companies in the rail sector.roviario. In its start-up, the backing and cooperation of ICEX, España Exportación e Inversiones was also vital.

The companies that formed that first committee were: AceraliaGrupo Arcelor, EA Technology Global Amurrio Ferrocarriles y Equipos, Felguera Melt, Fundiciones Garbi, Getinsa, Guivisa, Hicasa, InecoTifsa, ITK Ingeniería, Jez Sistemas Ferroviarios, KLK Electro Materiales, La Farga Lacambra, Metalocaucho, Redalsa and Talleres Alegría. Furthermore, there was the unwavering support of RENFE who was also present at that first constituent assembly.

The Path to Internationalisation

These sixteen companies embarked upon, on September 16, 2014, their path to boost the internationalisation of the Spanish railway sector. An arduous journey in which MAFEX has become, today, the main representative of a leading industry, with major external presence and a reputation acknowledged worldwide for its high technological capacity, specialisation and know-how.

Mafex, que se creó en un escenario de grandes inversiones ferroviarias en España, ha pasado en 15 años de ese reducido número de fundadores a 86 miembros, cifra que sirve para constatar el acierto de aquella iniciativa de promover la salida al exterior. Mafex which was created under a scenario of large railway investments in Spain, has shifted in 15 years from that small number of founding partners to 86 members, a figure that serves to verify the success of that initiative to foster movement into foreign markets.

Mafex today

Currently, the association has 86 members, with its companies moving from a turnover of 181 million in 2004, to more than 5 billion euros in 2018.018. Furthermore, they represent 75 of the Spanish railway exports and are present in more than 90 countries where they have developed more than 1,000 transport projects.

MAFEX’s mission is to serve all of them and the Spanish railway sector by helping their companies in their internationalisation processes and defending their general interests to achieve, in cooperation, the highest possible level of competitiveness of the same.

The high level of qualification, experience in special projects and the in-house knowledge has led to this industry becoming the chosen partner in the plans for overhaul and expansion of transport networks of the five continents. The association includes large, small and medium-sized companies from all activity segments, as well as technological and university centres.

MAFEX has managed to unify a thriving industry, responding to the needs and demands of the associated companies. Hence, together with the launch into foreign markets, specialist services have been incorporated into fields of special relevance such as competitiveness and innovation to face new challenges such as digital transformation and guidance towards industry 4.0.

A track record of achievements

Over these 15 years, highly positive results have been achieved. The association represents and promotes abroad an activity sector with a strong technological component. At the same time he has become an ambassador who shows a railroad model throughout the world, namely the Spanish one, this being highly recognisable and exportable.

MAFEX has facilitated access to more than 85 countries to the Spanish railway industry with the organisation of more than 190 foreign promotion actions in which more than a thousand companies have participated, also arranging visits to Spain for more than 175 company delegations, administrations and organisations all over the world.

The association has also launched numerous initiatives such as the preparation of the International Railway Convention, in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investment, which this year has celebrated its seventh year in Malaga edición. It also co-organises the Rail Live! Trade Fair, alongside Terrapinn, a congress fair that moved its headquarters from London. This professional platform once again places the Spanish railway sector in a sectorial showcase of great relevance.

Activity areas

The association’s activity has similarly increased over the years and has gained weight in strategic areas. MAFEX provides a service according to the new needs of the members. These tasks are developed around four main axes: internationalisation, competitiveness and innovation, institutional relations and strategic positioning and marketing and communication.

In the field of internationalisation, actions focus on three sections.

The first one called “Market intelligence and foreign promotion,” The aim is to foster collaboration among MAFEX members and contribute to the identification of new business opportunities, thus bolstering the positioning of the sector. To this end, an intense Annual Activity Plan is drawn up that encompasses the organisation of direct commercial delegations, inverse missions, participations grouped in the main railway fairs worldwide, as well as the creation and implementation of in-house services.os.

From the second section devoted to Commercial Policy, it focuses on the special follow-up of current issues and impact on the industry in order to create new solid business opportunities and overcome trade barriers, where it is very necessary to closely observe the instruments of defence, also ensure effective protection of the sector’s interests and thus avoid bad practices.

To this are added the work of institutional relations and strategic positioning. To boost the defence of the interests of the Spanish railway sector from MAFEX, it participates in various business and institutional forums such as UNIFE (Association of the Rail Industry European) or CEOE (Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations. Furthermore, there is the official recognition of the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism as a collaborating association of the Ministry in internationalisation matters, or by the Basque Government and SPRI as a railway cluster.

Likewise, collaborations are maintained with the Ministry of Public Works, Renfe, Adif, the Foundation of the Spanish Railways, the Spanish Railway Technology Platform, ICEX or CDTI, amongst others. otros. On the international stage, cooperates with UITP (International Public Transport Union) and with Alamys (the Latin American Association of Meters and Undergrounds).

Another of MAFEX’s key areas focuses on “competitiveness and innovation”.

The association acts as a facilitator of activities to achieve more competitive, innovative and technologically advanced companies. Therefore, it is committed to a formula for group work and cooperation between companies. In this way, progress is made on issues of special relevance such as the work groups that aim to enhance the competitive improvement of the partners, mainly in terms of sustainability, multimodal logistics, Smart Mobility, eco-design, Industry 4.0, Predictive Maintenance and Security.

Collaboration between academia and the industrial sector is promoted, making a continuous approach to universities and technology centres, as well as to start-ups with technology that can be applicable in the sector, as well as technological surveillance with the identification of strategic projects fostering the participation of partner companies in R&D projects collaboratively.

Finally, in terms of marketing and communication, annually and according to what is defined in the Communication and Marketing Plan, strategies are established to disseminate the capabilities of the partners and the Spanish railway sector. For this reason, different channels and tools such as MAFEX magazine have been designed, which has become a link of international dissemination with a sizeable following in the sector, reaching more than 6,000 subscribers and with online and print edition. Alongside this, presence in social networks, the corporate website or different is worthy of special mention, thematic newsletters and special interest pieces.

Additionally, different sector reports are published annually, based on statistical data, positioning notes and topics of special interes

Defence of the railways

The role of general defence of the railways is another of the main aims.
The association works on the promotion of this medium for its clear advantages in terms of sustainability, capacity and safety, amongst other aspects. For this reason, from within MAFEX, it is insisted that only by promoting this as a backbone of national transport and sustainable mobility policies, the environmental aims set out by the European Union and widely assumed by the international community can be achieved.

With this in mind, the association stresses that, in order to continue promoting it, strong support from the Public Administrations is required and requests a commitment and political consensus from the State to define an investment plan, in the long-term, based on a global and stable transportation strategy.le. This road map should not be modified by economic cycles or by political changes; nor should it affect projects and tenders already underway.

A future filled with challenges and opportunities

MAFEX’s pathway advances with highly defined aims. Over the forthcoming years, work will continue on an intense annual activity plan in order to promote worldwide a driving sector of the economy and technological symbol, defending thus its interests and helping in the new innovation scenarios arising, along with the challenges of digital transformation.