Teesport to Scotland rail proves successful

PD ports train

Innovative UK-based operator PD Ports has confirmed the success of its north-bound flows from Teesport to Scotland, while another environmentally friendly working from its north of England terminal has fallen flat on its pack.

Fresh from being crowned Business of the Year at September’s Rail Freight Group Awards in England, PD Ports have confirmed the success of their year-long trial flow between Teesport and Grangemouth, making the working permanent. The well-loaded intermodal is timed to meet incoming containerships operations from Baltic ports, with loads for the north of England and Scotland.


The company says that following an increase in traffic and a demand for ports to offer a fully integrated multimodal transport infrastructure, Teesport has seen major investment in its rail facilities.“Rail is at the forefront of our agenda”, says Geoff Lippitt, Group Business Development Director at PD Ports. “Providing vital UK connections for our customers and delivering significant environmental and cost-saving benefits is vital.”

The UK government has placed increased importance on the use of rail freight, in an attempt to reduce road congestion and traffic delays. PD Ports say that their rail services offer a solution that fits with this agenda. They expect to see the Intermodal terminal handling fifty percent more rail traffic over the next ten years. Avoiding additional road-based haulage is something that will be welcomed by customers, the government, and also by communities around Teesport, which is nearly 30 miles (45 km) from the UK motorway network.

Flat Packed

Already a twice-daily rail service to the inland distribution centre at Doncaster is carrying 56 boxes every day, taking 120 road movements off the 180-mile (288km) round-trip. Among the big blue TEU are the disassembled wares of satisfied and environmentally-aware customer IKEA. “We have a very ambitious decarbonising agenda and actively seek to reduce our environmental impact wherever possible, says Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld, Head of Sustainability, IKEA Transport & Logistics Services. “To shift from trucks to trains is one way of reducing the fuel used per shipment.”

While Scandinavian customers may well be expected to have environmental impact at the top of their list of logistics considerations, it is improvements in handling and intermodal operations that have pushed rail up the agenda in the UK. “Rail freight offers the certainty and reliability required to support complex supply chains”, says John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, whose company supply the motive power for the Doncaster flows. “At a time when business is under increasing pressure to improve their sustainability credentials, rail has the advantage of being significantly more environmentally friendly than road transport.”

15 per week

With the consolidation of Grangemouth services, Teesport is now handling 15 services a week and more daily services to Scotland than any other port in the North of England. That is an accolade that PD Ports proudly hold but, if their own predictions for growth are proved accurate, and business builds as fast as a Swedish bookcase, there are several contenders ready to challenge for that particular title.

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Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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