Image: © Eurotunnel

Freight train scanner will target UK-bound smugglers

Freight trains heading for the UK through the Channel Tunnel are to be scanned ‘on the move’ by customs officials using new technology designed to help detect smuggling. The 6.4 million Euros facility at Calais is expected to enter service towards the middle of 2018.

It will be operated by customs officers from the Douane, the French customs and excise agency which is only authority certified to use such material in France. The scanner will mean several hours can be saved on the process of controlling trains heading for the UK via the Channel Tunnel. The installation of the equipment will enable customs staff to control up to 30 trains a day, travelling at 20 kilometres per hour, without stopping.

Speed of growth

Funded entirely by the Eurotunnel Group, the scanner will be situated on the national railway network following an agreement with SNCF Réseau, the French national rail infrastructure manager. Officials from both companies took part in a ceremony to lay a foundation stone at Calais-Frethun freight yard.

Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SE, said: “To prepare for the speed of growth in rail freight traffic, Eurotunnel has installed state-of-the-art technology. This investment is unique in France and will enable us to handle the 5,000 trains per year forecast by 2023.”

Specialist teams

Patrick Jeanet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SNCF Réseau, added: “Our specialist teams will work closely together to install this scanner. SNCF Réseau has made space available and will modify equipment to accommodate this solution which will considerably improve cross-Channel traffic flow.”

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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