Nestlé’s Glass Train shifts more cargo from road to rail

In France, Nestlé Water is bringing more trains to the rails for the transport of reusable water bottles to and from the production site. The Glass Train project, as it is called, is also getting two more destinations; Arles in Southern France and Merrey in the country’s East. The 25 new trains will help the company remove up to 1,000 trucks off the road and save approximately 500 tons in CO2 emissions.

Since last April, Nestlé Water has been using a rail freight solution between its factories and a logistics platform located in Western France and it is already seeing the added value. That is why it is expanding the project for its VITTEL and S.PELLEGRINO brands. The company will use the trains to transport reusable bottles from its factories to logistics and distribution centres. Moreover, after the bottles are used, they will return with the same trains to their production sites for cleaning and re-labelling.

“With Glass Train, we are committing to our customers to transport our natural mineral waters in the most virtuous way possible”, said Alexandre Varo, out-of-home sales director for Nestlé Waters France. On top of that, rail freight is also essential in terms of efficiency and flexibility for Nestlé’s operations, and an overall better logistical solution, added Varo.

Reduce CO2 emissions by 13 per cent

Nestlé’s main objective is to reach carbon neutrality and reduce its transport emissions by 13 per cent by 2022. The Glass Train project is the flagship initiative for this mission, but the company takes several steps to achieve this. For instance, in Vergèze, in Southern France, the company initiated the re-opening of an old railway line between its PERRIER factory and the port of Fos-sur-Mer. This move resulted in removing almost 25,000 trucks off the road.

Similarly, in Vittel, 50 per cent of the company’s bottles travel to the customer by rail. Simultaneously, the company tries to implement state-of-the-art solutions for its rail freight services. For example, in 2019, it introduced the use of hybrid locomotives in its itineraries.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is the Chief Editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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