Solent Stevedores recognised by UK freight industry award
Solent Stevedores has been named Business of the Year by a panel of industry peers at the annual Rail Freight Group (RFG) Awards. The Gloucestershire headquartered company is a specialist port operator in the UK, the Channel Islands, and Singapore. This is the latest in a string of recognitions for the company. It was earned on the back of their drive for rail freight growth, particularly at the Port of Southampton. The company has been an advocate for rail freight, attracting new services and leading a significant shift from road to rail at the port.
A multi-million-pound investment is underway to enhance the Port of Southampton’s container offering for deep-sea shipping lines. The involvement of one company has earned the Solent Stevedores the Business of the Year accolade from the Rail Freight Group, the industry body in the UK. There could be more to come, as the project has just completed its first construction phase. A 5.5 acre (2.2 hectares) site has been commissioned for high-volume stacking containers. New modern offices are also in place on-site. All that ties into a programme of rail freight promotion, encouraging operators to use intermodal services from the port – which has benefitted from recent extensive enhancements to the rail infrastructure.
Twelve Southampton trains a day
Actively promoting rail freight has brought a seal of success from the industry’s representative body in the UK, the Rail Freight Group. The judges at the association’s annual awards were impressed by Solent Stevedores’ commitment to long-term investments and entrepreneurial spirit. They commended the risks it had taken to steer the drive for rail freight growth at the Port of Southampton. “The company’s investment in a revamped rail terminal has involved lengthening and redesigning track and developing 12 acres of laden container storage space”, they said in their commendation. “This is the third major investment in the terminal in the last ten years and it has already increased daily capacity from five to eight rail freight services. This is now set to rise to twelve a day by the end of the year.”
Phase One of the project has now been handed over to Solent Stevedores by their contractors Ryebridge Construction and has been immediately put into active service for intermodal customers. Storing loaded and empty containers may not be the most glamourous aspect of intermodal rail freight operations, but efficient handling in the narrow-margin container shipment sector is all the difference in making a profitable enterprise. On that basis, the company operates long term contracts in the Port of Southampton, the River Thames, DP World London Gateway, the Port of St Helier in Jersey and the Port of Immingham.
On the night, Solent Stevedores also scooped up the ‘Driving Rail Freight Growth’ award. “The rail freight sector needs companies like Solent Stevedores”, said Maggie Simpson OBE, Director General, Rail Freight Group. “Active and innovative players that are prepared to continually invest in making modal shift a reality. We all know that the UK needs to move more goods away from our congested road network and onto the railway and Solent Stevedores is one company acting to make the future of sustainable transport happen.”