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Column - July 2010

New consumer rail traffic

Freight Containers on the MoveThe latest ORR figures issued on 24th June show consumer rail freight is growing and increasing market share despite the recession, through a combination of domestic intermodal and international traffic which proves that rail is moving out of its traditional markets. Here are some examples If you drill down behind these figures.

DB Schenker started a new direct train service linking the Midlands with Italy at the beginning of June.  The flow from Birmingham to Padova in Northern Italy builds upon existing twice weekly DB Schenker services which take only 42 hours via the Channel Tunnel with customers ranging from retailers, food producers and manufacturing. The train provides customers with a saving of at least 24 hours over traditional road haulage and customer also do not need to worry about collecting from the rail freight terminals as DB is providing a full door to door services collecting from the customer and delivering to the end destination. There is also a timetabled connecting import and export service between Birmingham and Glasgow providing an alternative to the road network.

Transfesa and Solsor which are both major pan-European logistics operators are together running a weekly refrigerated service between Spain and the UK which has a transit time of 45 hours and uses Transfesa’s axle changing facility on the French/Spanish border. Transfesa mainly uses railways for long distance transport and road for final delivery.

Direct Rail Services  have relaunched a five day supermarket service for  WH Malcolms with each daily train hauling up to 26 containers. It is estimated that CO2 savings of 12,000 tonnes per year will be made. This equates to removing over 13,000 lorry journeys off the road network between Daventry and Mossend.

International Produce, the logistics arm of WALMART responsible for supplying the supermarket chain ASDA with fresh fruit and vegetables, has been able to transfer fruit and vegetable imports from road to rail, using DB Schenker, to deliver 40 containers every weekend from the Port of Tilbury to the rail freight terminal at Wakefield.

The intermodal service run by DB Schenker for Stobart which commenced last Autumn carrying refrigerated fresh produce from Spain to the UK is the longest rail freight service in Europe under the operation and direct control of a single operator. This service has 30 intermodal reefer boxes and avoids 13.7 million road kms per annum between Spain and the UK and reduces CO2 emissions by 8625 tonnes per annum. There are aspirations to increase the service to three times a week, and then five times a week in the future.

The Royal Mail now has seven mail trains a day operated by DB Schenker, transporting more than one million items of mail every day.

Freightliner’s trading division Logico have launched a container service from Southampton to BIFT (Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal) on behalf of Allport, the UK’s leading independent freight forwarder. .Commencing last August, this is the 12th daily service that Freightliner operates from Southampton, to destinations in Birmingham, Cardiff, Coatbridge, Daventry, Doncaster, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

All these services are benefiting from reduced costs, improved service reliability and will result in a reduction in carbon emissions and improvement in road safety.

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