International multimodal logistics leader, Stobart Group, has re-started its low-carbon rail freight service between Valencia, Spain and Barking, near London.
The seasonal rail service, operated by Europorte Channel, the international freight haulage subsidiary of Eurotunnel, will carry 30 chilled containers of fruit and vegetables from Spain to supermarkets and retailers in the UK. Trains arrive into Barking, having been monitored throughout the journey by the latest satellite tracking software, which closely observes progress and ensures the temperature of each 45-ft refrigerated container remains at optimum chilled levels.
The journey takes just over 50 hours with the service passing through Spain, France and the Channel Tunnel. It saves 60 cross-continent truck journeys each week – slashing vehicle carbon emissions, and reduces road congestion on Spanish, French and UK motorways.
In an innovative move, Europorte Channel and Network Rail have utilised the international rail lines at Folkestone, removing the need for an extra stop on the northbound leg of the journey – reducing both cost and journey time.
The new service has been part-funded by a European Union Marco Polo grant, promoting freight modal shift from road to rail to aid congestion on key European routes, and to reduce carbon emissions. Initially it will run weekly building up to five services per week at peak times.
Liam Martin, Stobart Rail Freight managing director, said: "The resumption of this seasonal service has been driven by the commercial advantages it offers and the environmental benefits. It will help take trucks off European motorways and ease congestion at key pinch-points such as the Pyrenees. The service will allow us to offer a cost and time-effective solution for supermarkets and food retailers in a carbon-friendly manner."