New route boosts potential for Scottish exporters
A new rail freight service for containers has left the Port of Liverpool for the first time, thanks to a partnership between Peel Ports and rail freight company DB Cargo.
The new service provides shipping lines, forwarders, tank operators and cargo-owners with a seamless route between the quayside at Liverpool and Scotland, in turn minimising congestion around the Port of Liverpool.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram officially launched the departure of the inaugural journey on Tuesday 8 May, which saw goods loaded in Liverpool and transferred to Mossend terminal in Glasgow.
The new service, which is expected to make Scottish exporters more competitive, will comprise up to 30 wagons and is expected to carry over 40 containers per trip. The service will initially run on three days a week, with DB Cargo providing the rail haulage to transport Scottish exports destined for global markets via direct deep-sea routes from Liverpool.
Scottish family-run company Walkers Shortbread, that produces 40,000 tons of their biscuits every year, will be one of the first customers to use the new rail freight service, exporting 700 containers a year to America.
Kinross-shire based Cygnet PG, the largest potato producer in the UK, has also committed to the new service.
Jouke Schaap, Container Director at Peel Ports, said: “This is an important milestone event for us and our partners, DB Cargo. We know that cargo owners are looking for more efficient ways of getting their goods from A to B, and this rail freight service provides them with a simpler, more cost effective and environmentally friendly way of doing that. It will also open up global markets for thousands of Scottish exporters looking to transport their goods around the world. This new service underlines our commitment to working with our customers and the wider supply chain to transform UK logistics practices to ensure the door-to-door journey is optimised.”
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, said: “Improving our connectivity, both logistically and digitally, is a key driver in transforming the Liverpool City Region and this new rail freight service is an important part of that process. It also offers an environmentally friendly way of moving cargo arriving in the Port of Liverpool, by taking traffic off the roads.
“The prosperity of our city region is intrinsically linked to the success of the Port of Liverpool so it is great to see it respond to market demands on efficiency and sustainability in a way that benefits the wider community.”
Hans-Georg Werner, CEO from DB Cargo UK said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Peel Ports on this exciting new initiative. Introducing express rail services between Liverpool and Mossend is a really sustainable solution, significantly reducing the need for HGVs to travel thousands of miles on our roads each week. Peel Ports’ vision to offer customers a seamless end-to-end service resonates with our own drive for higher standards of service and flexibility for our customers. We look forward to seeing our partnership grow in the years ahead.”
Andrew Stokes, Head of International Sales at Walkers Shortbread Ltd, said: “Increasing our logistics efficiency and reducing our road haulage miles are both key to our export strategy. The new rail service connecting Scotland with Liverpool provides us with direct, regular access to our gateway to America. We’re currently exporting around 700 containers of shortbread to the US each year, and hope to see this grow in years to come, in part thanks to the integrated route to market offered via Liverpool.”
Andrew Hemphill, Port Director for Clydeport, said “This new service is a major boost to Scottish exporters, underpinning Scotland’s manufacturing base, particularly across the food and drink sectors. Via the Mossend rail terminal, Scottish goods will get to global markets faster, cheaper and with a major reduction in environmental impact.”
The move echoes Peel Ports Group’s longstanding commitment to reducing road haulage miles locally around the Port of Liverpool. Peel launched a rail route between Liverpool and Drax Power Station in 2015, shipping biomass pellets to the site in North Yorkshire.
The available train path capacity directly to and from the Port of Liverpool is currently amongst the highest of all major ports within the UK, providing expansion options for importers and exporters that also minimise cost, congestion and carbon emissions. For intermodal traffic, the port has W10 gauge clearance capability, allowing 9ft 6in containers to be conveyed on standard deck height rail wagons. The new rail service will complement Liverpool’s wider logistics offering, such as multi-user warehousing, as Peel Ports continues its strategy of creating a truly multi-modal logistics hub right in the heart of the UK and providing supply chain efficiency and reliability for our economy.