Night time image of container train hauled by "ONE" liveried locomotive

Freightliner and ONE launch first-ever service with GD+ fuel

A ONE container train about to depart Freightliner media image

Rail freight operator Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming, and intermodal specialists Ocean Network Express (ONE) have agreed to realise their commitment towards a greener future launching their first-ever rail solution supported by GD+ fuel in the United Kingdom. They’ll also be linking terminals in Scotland and England with a new direct route between Coatbridge and Southampton.

Freightliner has announced the successful operation of a new service, connecting Southampton to Crewe, with an onward shuttle to Scotland. For the southern part of the journey, ONE will purchase “GD+” fuel to cover the traction requirement. The train continues to Freightliner’s Coatbridge terminal, near Glasgow in Scotland, using an electric locomotive. Freightliner say this makes it one of the greenest rail freight routes operating on the UK network.

Fuel stream ahead with renewable source

There has been much fanfare lately over bio-generated fuel alternatives to mineral derived diesel. Nevertheless, as is obligatory these days, this “innovative service” will be the “first of its kind” in the UK. “GD+” is a type of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), used in this instance as a diesel replacement. This drop-in fuel is made entirely from waste and residue oils and is defined as renewable, environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and sustainable.

Aerial shot of Coatbridge Freightliner terminal in Scotland
Coatbridge freight terminal from the air

The fuel is, according to Freightliner, supply chain traceable and independently verified. It generates significantly lower CO₂e emissions, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and methane (CH4). During its 437-mile (700km) journey, the operators claim around 80 per cent emissions reductions compared to straight diesel run. “With only 38 per cent of the UK’s rail network electrified, adopting alternative fuels could be a quick and effective transition to drastically reduce the country’s emissions”, said a Freightliner statement.

Delivering decarbonisation benefits

Freightliner has been enthusiastically taking up the environmental advantages for the new service. However, it is a commercial coup for them and ONE, providing a through service for intermodal customers between the south coast of England and Central Scotland. “We are delighted to be partnering with ONE to make this happen,” said Andrew Daly, Chief Commercial Officer for Freightliner. “We are leading the UK rail freight industry when it comes to delivering decarbonisation benefits, and this initiative is further evidence of our commitment to a greener future for UK rail freight through committed customer partnerships. We will continue to invest and lead the way in this critical area of decarbonisation.”

Freightliner locomotive in ONE pink livery
Collaboration between Freightliner and ONE is long standing

Simon Parsons, the director of the Ocean Network Express UK Agency, put the new link in a global context. “We aim to be the link between customer and supplier to accelerate the transition towards a fully green supply chain. Our long-term relationship with Freightliner has enabled us to align our green ambitions and act swiftly to support the logistical needs of our customers between Scotland and Southampton. We are very hopeful to further expand our green network throughout the UK.”

Singapore-based ONE is the seventh largest container shipping company in the world, operating more than 210 ships at a total capacity of around 1.52 million TEUs.

Do you want to read the full article?

Are you already a member?

Log in

Do you have a free account? With a free account, you had access to read all premium content on for free until 1 May 2023. From 1 May onwards you need a paid membership to read all premium articles. Questions? Call +31(0)10 280 1000 or see the FAQ.


Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.