Monday, June 30, 2014

Auto Maker Sells Excess Rail Cargo Space to Logistics Supplier for Multimodal Contracts

Near Empty Train Can Now Backload via Regular Agents
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – BELGIUM – Automotive group Volvo is as keen as any modern company to improve its green credentials and has made a significant move this week by reaching an agreement with Scandinavian Logistics Partners AB (Scanlog) to sell surplus capacity in rail transport from Belgium to Sweden which the freight agency can utilise on multimodal operations. The Volvo Group’s freight train, the so-called ‘Train 8’ leaves from Sweden fully loaded with truck components to the Group’s truck plant in Ghent, Belgium with ten departures a week, yet only 10% of the cargo capacity is used during the return trip to Sweden.

The deal comes about as Volvo makes efforts to optimise its transport operations based on reliability, cost and environmental impact whilst minimising waste, foremost among which is surplus capacity. The agreement suits Scanlog’s requirements and from July 1 the company will purchase vacant space to sell on to various customers after collecting a variety of goods from Spain, France, Benelux and western Germany by road, then transhipping to the railway at Ghent.

Based on a tripartite agreement between the Volvo Group, Volvo Cars and Green Cargo, Train 8 runs twice a day, five days a week between Sweden and Belgium, on a route that resembles a figure 8. Wagons with parts from factories in Umeå, Gothenburg and Olofström meet in Älmhult and are linked together before transport to Ghent. The new agreement will see Scanlog open a new cross-dock terminal in Älmhult for distribution in southern Sweden, in addition to the existing terminal in Hallsberg used for distribution to central and northern Sweden. Scanlog’s Chairman Mathias Wideroth, commented:

“We have in recent years seen a strong increase in interest in more sustainable transport solutions. It is very satisfying that, thanks to the cooperation with the Volvo Group we will now be able to offer Swedish retail and industry an environmentally and economically very attractive door-to-door option where we use an intelligent combination of truck and rail.”

Scanlog’s Scandinavian Rail Shuttle provides a substantial reduction in both carbon dioxide, sulphur and hydrocarbon emissions. The multimodal rail solution handles up to 7,000 trailer transports per year by train transport for the long-haul, in combination with road haulage trucks for collections and distribution. The reduction of the CO2 footprint is estimated to correspond to approximately 8 million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide. Anders Bergström, head of short sea shipping and rail within the Volvo Group, observed:

“Rail transport as a logistics solution has been around for a long time in the Volvo Group, as one way of reducing our logistics costs and our environmental impact. We have long been looking for opportunities to take advantage of the wagons that go from Ghent to Sweden for return loads. In working with Scanlog we can do it while maintaining reliability of supply and delivery without risking that our own delivery chain will be disturbed.”

Photo: The Volvo train leaving Älmhult.