Monday, November 25, 2019

Producer Has the Bottle to Switch from Road Haulage to Rail

New Freight Facility Under Construction
Shipping News Feature

UK – As the drive to reduce emissions from all modes of freight transport continues, it is still mainly those companies producing substantial quantities of cargo which can more easily make the transition to rail from the traditional road haulage option.

One such appears to be bottled water producer Highland Spring which has always made much of its environmental credentials, not the easiest task given the packaging associated with such a product. To mitigate this last year the business rolled out a 100% recycled and recyclable Highland Spring ‘eco bottle’ of which more than 10 million have been sold to date, and now the company is going a stage further.

One of the group’s regular logistics partners, Russell Logistics, have been advocating the switch to rail for over 40 years wherever practical, operating six rail linked sites and now assisting Highland Spring in its programme to instigate a rail based distribution system from its Blackford plant where construction will soon commence on a new rail freight facility, adjacent to the group’s main bottling plant.

Planning permission was granted in 2016 for the project and the principals lodged the plans with the Network Rail Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process shortly after. GRIP is intended to bring such proposed investments to fruition on the railway. Highland Spring say they are delighted with the support received from Network Rail in a process which is both demanding and complex.

Factors for consideration included minimising noise and visual impact and future proofing against such things as electrification of the main line and revisions to passenger services. Highland Spring says the switch to rail means a 75%+ cut in emissions as against road, with two daily trains running weekdays and one on Saturday allowed, each train equivalent to 22 HGVs.

Initial estimates say the switch will eliminate around 8,000 truck movements per year, saving 3,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Plans are afoot to save even more emissions with the possibility that electrification of the main line between Dunblane and Perth allowing the potential introduction of electric freight locomotives. In the yard the containers of water will be loaded using a fully electric, rubber tyred crane.

Construction on this, the first new such freight facility in a decade, is due to start shortly with completion in around a year making the terminal operational in early 2021.