Friday, December 17, 2021

Supermarket Giant Opts for Cold Chain Rail Borne Service in Time for Christmas

Fourteen Trains per Week to Run from Now On
Shipping News Feature

UK – Tesco is increasing its use of rail freight as part of its efforts to meet its commitment to net zero emissions in its own operations by 2035. Over the past year alone the supermarket has increased the number of containers with produce destined for stores transported by rail by nearly 50%.

Now, to further ensure the delivery of the usual stocks of sprouts, parsnips, carrots, onions, oranges and lemons just in time for that all important Christmas dinner, the supermarket giant has partnered with Direct Rail Services (DRS) to transfer much of its cool chain cargo to the tracks. Jason Tarry, Tesco UK and ROI CEO said:

“We’ve been using rail to transport our goods since 2008 and this new service reflects our continuing commitment to rail which has clear advantages for our business, our customers and the planet. Our rail service will be an important part of our efforts to deliver a fantastic Christmas for our customers but the journey doesn’t stop here as we continue to increase the number of containers we transport by rail as part of our commitment to reach net zero emissions in our operations by 2035.”

The new service will be the first time Tesco has used refrigerated rail freight in the UK, distributing chilled goods from Tilbury to Coatbridge by low CO2 rail twice a day, seven days a week. Using rail has significant environmental benefits. The 415-mile route will use DRS’s Class 88 bi-mode electric locomotives which can run on electricity and produce zero exhaust and greenhouse gas emissions.

This service alone will take at least 17,000 containers off the road each year, saving Tesco 7.3 million road miles and nearly 9,000 tonnes of CO2e. Chris Connelly, NTS Deputy CEO and Rail Director, commented:

“This is fantastic news, not only for DRS and Tesco but also for the environment. This is an example of how rail can play an integral part in the race to net zero. Each train will remove around 40 lorries from Britain’s roads and save 9,000 tonnes of CO2e, and we’re running two trains a day, seven days a week. We’re thrilled to be working with Tesco on this new service, helping them drive down their carbon footprint as they deliver for their customers throughout the UK.”

All-rail freight has been shown to deliver 76% per cent fewer CO2 emissions when compared to road. Linking with other rail operations from across Europe at Tilbury Forth Ports ensures that fresh produce can travel with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Charles Hammond OBE, chief executive of Forth Ports concluded:

"Moving goods by rail is the solution to greening logistics in the UK. This new chilled goods train will help Tesco deliver their aspiration to move more goods by rail in the coming years, with Tilbury as a central supply chain partner. Rail traffic at our ports has increased tenfold this year alone and we are expecting annual growth in rail to continue to 2030. At Tilbury, in the last two years, we've enhanced our rail capability considerably by building new rail terminals and barge loading facilities across the port to enhance our customers’ low carbon delivery options.”