Port achieves new rail freight record

THE Port of Felixstowe has set a new record for rail freight, with a total of 10,764 containers being handled by train in a week.

The figure – equivalent to 16,209 TEU, the standard industry capacity unit – was achieved during the week ending September 26 and compares with the previous record of 10,582 units, recorded during the equivalent week last year.

The increased rail volumes follow a number of track and equipment improvements over the past two years, including a 39-metre extension of the South Rail Terminal to accommodate 22-wagon trains, a major line refurbishment at the same terminal and a second, brand new, rail-mounted gantry crane in August this year.

David Gledhill, chief executive of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd (HPUK), which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said: “In a world where shippers are looking to reduce carbon footprints, the use of intermodal rail freight offers one of the best ways to make substantial carbon savings, and there are more rail services, to more inland destinations, more often, from Felixstowe than any other UK port.

“The scale of operations at Felixstowe means we are able to offer a unique range of intermodal and coastal feeder services which, together with the reductions we continue to make in our own carbon emissions, makes the Port of Felixstowe the low-carbon option. In 2009 we saw two new services introduced from Felixstowe to Hams Hall and Birch Coppice, both near Birmingham, bringing the total number of daily services to 28, and in 2010 we have seen the first trials of 30-wagon trains from our North Terminal.

“The new volume record, however, represents increased volumes across all services, and not just the recent additions.

“These volumes highlight graphically Felixstowe’s position as the port-of-choice for UK importers, and justify the investments we have been making to improve the rail services available to all our customers.”

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Daily rail services at the Port of Felixstowe operate to and from Coatbridge (Glasgow), Trafford Park (Manchester), Liverpool, Leeds, Daventry, Barton Dock, Cleveland, Birmingham, Tilbury, Selby, Wakefield, Hams Hall, Birch Coppice, Ditton, and Doncaster.

Last month, HPUK was officially certified by the Carbon Trust Standard for reducing its carbon emissions by 8.2% between 2007 and 2009.

To qualify for the award, the company was required to demonstrate examples of robust carbon management systems in place at Felixstowe and its two other UK prots, Harwich International and London Thamesport. Also under scrutiny were the company’s documenting, reporting and monitoring systems, training, investment and CO2 reduction targets.