Tuesday, January 4, 2022

eHub for Electrically Powered HGVs Will be Set Up in Cardiff to Service the Likes of Tesco

Initial Contract for Two Vehicles Claims First Commercial Use of Such Trucks in the UK
Shipping News Feature

UK – It seems supermarket giant Tesco is heading into the New Year with the environmental clean-up at the head of its agenda. Having last month introduced fourteen trains per week to carry temperature sensitive produce between Tilbury and Glasgow, its last pronouncement of 2021 was to claim the first UK commercial use of fully electric heavy freight articulated trucks.

Tesco has teamed up with Welsh based international freight forwarding company FSEW to run two new 37 tonne DAF electric vehicles to transport food and other products from Wentloog rail terminal outside Cardiff to Tesco’s distribution centre in Magor, Wales. With a distance between the two of around 15 miles this may not seem a significant step, however as battery technology improves to offer greater range for this type of vehicle more of the same is bound to follow.

Despite the distance involved these initial HGVs will replace around 65,000 diesel-fuelled road miles with clean green energy, removing 87.4 tonnes of CO2e per year. To power the new service FSEW has installed charging points at its site in South Wales that provide enough energy to power these large vehicles for 100 miles before needing to charge again.

FSEW will own and operate the charging infrastructure to support this service and manage the goods, up to 48 cages of predominantly non-chilled food and clothing, carried per load. Geoff Tomlinson, FSEW Managing Director commented:

“This is a landmark day for us here at FSEW, representing a major step forward in our commitment to providing zero emissions transport freight services. Together we are working to create a cleaner and greener logistics experience. This is transformational for the UK’s commercial and retail industries and is just the start of our work to supply electric heavy freight vehicles to customers such as Tesco.”

“Setting the industry standard is important to us which is why we also have plans underway to create an eFreight hub in Cardiff which will include a low carbon fuel facility for the use of all freight providers and commercial and municipal operators and are also launching this month two further trucks running on 100% renewable biomethane fuel for freight transport use.”

The two companies believe that by demonstrating that electric HGV transportation is commercially viable, this service will contribute to encouraging wider investment in technology and innovation that will support the haulage sector’s efforts to reduce emissions and air pollution. It will also contribute to Tesco’s own efforts to achieve net zero emissions in its operations by 2035, and FSEW’s work to replace more than 40 diesel vehicles with low-carbon alternatives and the switch to fleet-wide zero-emissions transport operations by 2025. Jason Watts, Manager of the Tesco Distribution Centre at Magor, observed:

“We all want to do what we can for the environment so we’re proud that Magor and Wales was chosen to be the first location to use these zero emissions lorries. It’s always exciting to get new kit and we can’t wait to try these lorries out in our busy operation.”

With the eye of the public firmly fixed on the way major businesses are operated with regard to their contribution to global warming, it has become vital, not just for such companies react to this, but that they evidence exactly what their policies are. Government figures show HGVs make up only 5% of vehicle miles, yet their emissions output stands at some 16%. Jason Tarry, Tesco UK and ROI CEO concluded:

“Tesco’s distribution network is one of the largest in the UK and plays an important role in our efforts to become net zero in our own operations by 2035. We’ve already made progress by starting our switch to electric home delivery vans and rolling out electric vehicles charging points for our customers. I’m excited that Tesco can also lead the way in electric haulage innovation, helping to tackle this last source of road transport emissions with the support of FSEW.”