UK multimodal handling just got easier for Freightliner

Container handling has just become a whole lot more versatile for Freightliner and Pentalver, the well-recognised brands on the rails and on the roads around Britain from global parent Genesee and Wyoming Inc. The company has just taken delivery of a fleet of 35 lifting and handling machines for its terminals around the UK, with another 40 machines on order for this year. The investment represents a long-term commitment from the UK’s largest rail maritime intermodal operator.

Container traffic continues to grow on the UK rail network. Steel boxes are the single biggest commodity moved by rail freight, and the work is well suited to the sector. Predictable heavy loads moving fast between defined terminals is what the railway does best. However, as any logistics specialist will be quick to point out, transhipping to load up the train, and for the nominal last mile delivery, is where the potential for costs rise significantly.

Over three-quarters of a million containers

Freightliner, and their logistics stablemates Pentalver, have therefore invested in 75 new lifting and handling machines to be deployed at their container terminals throughout the UK. The initial batch of equipment was recently delivered, with the additional 40 machines to follow in the coming months.

In a hurry. Freightliner intermodal departs

Possibly better known for bulk handling, Freightliner nevertheless lives up to its billing, by moving 770,000 maritime containers per year by both rail and road. They pride themselves on a port to door package, achieved by efficient handling at terminals. The new machines include Hyster reachstackers, Terberg terminal tractors, and Hyster empty container handlers. All are equally familiar names in the sector, and come supplied by Briggs Equipment, also a household name in logistics.

Cutting-edge technology

With intermodal terminals all over the UK, from Coatbridge in Central Scotland to Southampton on the Channel Coast of England, Freightliner has plenty of deployment choices. “We pride ourselves on providing a best in class service to our customers and a safe working environment for our employees, and investing in these latest technically-advanced machines will support us in enhancing that service”, said Chris Lawrenson, managing director of terminals for all of Genesee and Wyoming companies in the UK and Europe region.

Best in class says Freightliner’s Chris Lawrenson

While the UK railway aspires to decarbonise on the rails, cleaning up support services is also on the agenda. In addition to low-emission engines and shut-down technology, the new machines lead the way in telematics, looking after their own mechanical health, and the health of the operators too. Freightliner say their new handling fleet will help reduce emissions, as well as improve productivity. Lawrenson adds that their investment is made with the future of the business in mind. “Our focus on the customer experience, with substantial investments in cutting-edge technology, facilities and rolling stock will help cement our future as the transport and logistics provider of choice in the UK.”

With the intermodal sector expected to grow in all metrics, rail freight seems set to handle more boxes than ever before. Efficient handling will be even more important.

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Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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