New Southampton to East Midlands intermodal from GB Railfreight

GB Railfreight has commenced a new daily intermodal service from Southampton to East Midlands Gateway, the recently opened terminal near Derby. The operation is in association with Solent Stevedores, the company operating rail terminal facilities in the Port of Southampton. The new flow represents a continued expansion into the intermodal market for the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom.

Commencement of the new service comes only two weeks after GBRf announced that the company is set to start operations at its new intermodal facility at Peterborough, on the East Coast Main Line.

Five days a week intermodal service

As always the ebullient managing director of GB Railfreight, John Smith, enthusiastically welcomed the new service. “Our growth in intermodal shows GBRf’s dedication to innovation, offering flexible door-to-door solutions that meet our customers’ needs, as well as a consistently reliable service”, he said. “We are very proud of the hard work that has been put in to be the industry’s trusted intermodal carrier.”

The new Southampton to East Midlands service, rostered to run five days a week, will be GBRf’s twentieth intermodal service to date. John Smith said the commencement of this new service was testament to GBRf and its intention to grow the sector, regardless of the circumstances. “In light of the COVID-19 crisis we are redoubling our efforts to put the UK back on track, while also doing our bit to decarbonise our economy.”

Southampton port developments

As a port, Southampton has been significantly upgraded in recent years. It remains a primary transhipment point for automotive loads, and the owners have been keen to diversify. Stuart Cullen, who is the executive chairman of Solent Stevedores, said they are engaged in an ongoing programme, which has rail freight fundamental to their growth. “Our rail terminal at the Port of Southampton was significantly upgraded last year, increasing our capacity and efficiency.”

Solent Stevedores do far more than their traditional name may imply. As well as long-standing management of operations at the island port of Jersey, and operating on the East Coast at Immingham, the company handles the modern DP World London Gateway on the River Thames. “We are delighted to welcome an additional service from GBRf”, added Cullen. “Now with eight daily intermodal services from the Port of Southampton, this news further strengthens our position as a UK leading rail terminal operator.”

East Midlands Gateway traffic continues to rise

The development at East Midlands Gateway (EMG), which is built around a 50-acre intermodal terminal, managed by Maritime Transport, operates around the clock. It is able to accommodate up to sixteen 775m freight trains per day. The operators claim it has storage capacity for over 5,000 TEU.

Capacity at EMG has reportedly been in demand recently due to disruptions in the international supply chain. This has not impacted on the new service from GB Railfreight though, and the managing director of intermodal and terminals for Maritime, who manage the facility, John Bailey, said that he welcomed the new business and was looking to the future. He praised the way everyone had pulled together. “We are incredibly proud of what our drivers and staff have achieved in such a short space of time. Meeting our customers’ needs and unique requirements is at the very heart of what we do, and we look forward to providing additional services.”

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Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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