GB Railfreight shunts off with new contract for Celsa Steel

Class 08 shunter at Celsa Steel in Cardiff

The UK’s fast growing rail freight operator GB Railfreight has put pen to paper on a deal with Spanish-owned multinational metals corporation Celsa Steel. The British operator has signed a twelve-year contract to provide rail handling expertise at the company’s Cardiff facility. The two companies already have a ten-year relationship.

GB Railfreight (GBRf) have begun serving a new twelve-year contract with Celsa Steel UK in Cardiff, South Wales. Celsa is the largest manufacturer of steel reinforcement in the UK and one of the largest producers of other long steel products, the steel-making term for items like rails. GBRf will be providing shunting services on site, which will include remote operations. The concept of remote shunting has been tried elsewhere in Europe with some measure of success.

Technical innovation in contract

Building upon an existing relationship of ten years, GBRf will provide internal shunting services including a supply of remote-control shunt locomotives, train crews and ancillary services. John Smith, their managing director, said they were expanding on an existing relationship with Celsa. “We have a strong relationship going back many years”, he said. “We are delighted to continue it until 2033. This service will be a vital part of the UK’s steel industry, which we are incredibly proud to be supporting. The shift to rail freight is a vital part of decarbonising our transport system. Our partnership with Celsa shows our commitment to using innovative solutions to reach the ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050 and we hope to build on this going forward.”

Celsa is providing steels for the Crossrail project under central London (Celsa)

As part of the contract, all internal rail movements will be undertaken by GBRf, including the transportation of inbound scrap metal for steel production, hot billets for processing into finished goods, and outbound movements of finished products. Furthermore, GBRf will assist Celsa with managing internal track and wagon maintenance assessments. The deal will help relieve fears over the future of rail freight in South Wales, which has been under fire because of road-development polices that make operations difficult for some long-standing customers.

Celsa part of the Cardiff community

Both GBRf and Celsa have committed to assess more environmentally friendly alternatives for locomotive supply and continued work towards a decarbonised transport system. Luis Sanz, cheif executive and managing director, emphasised the commitment of the Spanish company to the Cardiff community. “Celsa Steel has been part of the Cardiff industrial landscape for the last two decades”, he said. Celsa intends to build on our strong business foundations for many years to come, providing vital low carbon steel products for numerous construction projects throughout the UK. Our success is guaranteed through strong partnerships with those who want to come on our exciting journey and this long term contract with GBRf represents another step on our path to sustainability.”

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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