The Port of Felixstowe today welcomed the announcement by GB Railfreight (GBRf) and Medite Shipping of the start of their second rail service from the Port that will reduce even further the number of lorries on Britain’s crowded roads.
Ipswich-based Medite Shipping have contracted GBRf to run a second container train service from Felixstowe to Selby and Doncaster in North Yorkshire, and from Felixstowe to Hams Hall, near Birmingham, using dedicated resources of locos, men and wagons.
A train serving Selby and Doncaster currently runs three days a week while a twice-weekly train goes to Hams Hall. This new contract will see both services operating five days a week. The first of the new services starts in September.
The service is fully supported by a track access grant from the Strategic Rail Authority and has helped increase the proportion of Medite freight moved by rail from 24 per cent in February, when GBRf ran its first train for the Company, to 26.5 per cent today.
This saves the equivalent of more than 25,000 long haul lorry trips a year, per train.
The announcement of the new service came as GBRf and Medite unveiled the new liveried train, and celebrated the naming of loco 66709 Joseph Arnold Davies at Felixstowe after the father of Medite’s Chairman and Managing Director, Roy Davies.
Mr. Davies said: “This provides further evidence of the determination we at Medite have to return our rail to road carriage ratio back to 45 per cent by ensuring that an annual figure of 65,000 boxes will be taken off the roads. Signing a five-year contract indicates our faith in the future.”
Richard Pearson, Managing Director of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, owners of the Port of Felixstowe, commented: “We warmly welcome this new service at Felixstowe.
“Not only will it further strengthen existing links between Medite, GB Railfreight and the Port, but it will also enable us to increase the volume of traffic being transported to and from the Port on the rail. Rail volumes currently represent 20% of the Port’s available UK domestic throughput, and we are deeply committed to improving on this figure.”
Commenting on the naming, John Smith, GBRf’s Managing Director said: “Today’s event is to celebrate the partnership between Medite, ourselves and the Port of Felixstowe that will help the government meet its target of increasing the amount of freight moved by rail.
“There has been a tremendous amount of co-operation between Medite, ourselves, the Port and the terminal operators at Selby, Doncaster and Hams Hall, which has allowed us to turn trains around efficiently and in timescales rarely seen before,” he added.