Plastic pipes by rail between England and Scotland

Train and lorry (Malcolm)(Malcolm Group)

Rail freight is contributing to the UK’s net-zero ambitions with practical assistance. Manufacturers, logistics experts and rail freight operators have collaborated to move environmentally responsible plastic products by environmentally sustainable rail freight. The project involves a long-distance transfer from the south of England to the south of Scotland, and uses recently improved rail facilities at a Scottish port.

Wavin, a plastics manufacturer, has collaborated with XPO Logistics and Malcolm Rail to move their products in bulk from their facility in Chippenham, Wiltshire to Grangemouth in Scotland for onward distribution. The trunk part of the journey, between Daventry and Scotland is undertaken by rail. The establishment of a regular flow has been agreed after a successful trial run in June.

Successfully trialled in June

A plastics manufacture is understood to be the latest customer to rail freight in the country. Wavin UK, who describe themselves as the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of plastic drainage piping solutions, can now legitimately describe themselves as the most recent adopters of rail freight for their bulk transport requirements. In a deal with XPO Logistics, their existing provider of freight transportation services, the company has introduced a road-rail freight solution to, as both partners claim, reduce emissions.

XPO successfully trialled the road-rail combination in June and implemented the full solution in September through a rail service agreement with Malcolm Logistics. XPO transports Wavin products by road from a production site in Chippenham, Wiltshire, to Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT), in the English Midlands, from where they are transported by rail to Grangemouth Rail Terminal in Scotland. Locally, the XPO fleet and drivers are deployed to complete the final deliveries.

Delivering measurable improvements

The consignment will form a part load for existing multimodal services. According to XPO, it is envisaged that the service will be used five days per week, with up to six multimodal containers transported daily. The road-rail combination will significantly lower annual C02 emissions by an estimated 58 per cent and reduce NOx by18.8 tonnes yearly, with the full benefits realised once all the rail freight containers are in place. The solution is managed by XPO’s technology platform, which integrates all of the company’s transport services for Wavin, including dedicated truckload, less-than-truckload and a bespoke parcel delivery service.

Port of Grangemouth from the air. Described by Forth Ports as the biggest container terminal in Scotland. it also looks like the greenest too. Image Forth Ports

“XPO’s road-rail solution is another example of our partner’s proactive approach to innovation”, said Andrew Crosby, global director – indirect procurement, at Wavin. “Our collaboration with XPO is delivering measurable improvements in on-time performance and cost reduction, and now we are further reducing the emissions of our operations on pace with our sustainability goals.”

Step changes in environmental performance

Forth Ports, the operators of the Grangemouth docks complex, recently undertook a significant upgrading of the facilities there, so that the rail freight terminal could more efficiently handle modern intermodal traffic and bulk loads. Based on its maritime activity, Grangemouth is already described by its operators as Scotland’s largest container terminal, handling over 250,000 TEUs each year.

“Both Wavin and XPO understand the importance of taking responsibility to drive innovation and step changes in environmental performance”, said Dan Myers, managing director – UK and Ireland, for XPO Logistics. “With our latest initiative, we are achieving these two critical goals together. As partners, we will continue to deliver for Wavin’s customers and the environment.”

**UK businesses can soon share their stories in a full-colour digital magazine tailored to the UK rail industry. The RailFreight UK Christmas Special will be published on 15 December. Details, including how to take part, can be found here.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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