UK Freightliner unveils range of new intermodal services

Freightliner has stepped up its service portfolio by offering a game-changing twenty-five new services across England, Wales and Scotland. That’s a significant addition to the UK’s roster of around seven hundred daily freight trains. The raft of new services is understood to add to the company’s intermodal portfolio.

Freightliner has taken the industry by surprise with a raft of new services announced. The operator, a subsidiary of the American Genesee & Wyoming corporation, has put down a marker for modal shift aspirations. The mother of all timetable changes will start this week with some significant port-to-inland terminal moves. On Monday (2 October), the signals will be pulled off for the new Felixstowe to Daventry service, connecting the UK’s biggest container port with the critical container terminal in the English Midlands.

Financial incentives in place

The port of Felixstowe, already one of the busiest rail freight locations in the UK, will undoubtedly benefit from the new service – although the benefit will be felt most keenly on the roads away from the port. The start on 2 October of Freightliner’s new route from Felixstowe to Daventry serves what is traditionally a competitive short-haul route for freight logistics. The company says this is the first rail freight service connecting the port of Felixstowe with Daventry, which pushes all the right buttons for significant carbon savings over road haulage solutions. “We have added these new services with both service delivery and efficiency in mind”, explained Tim Shoveller, Freightliner’s recently appointed CEO for the UK and Europe. “We are committed to pushing the boundaries of rail freight by offering simplified and streamlined solutions for our customers which support that all-important modal shift to rail.”

As well as the high-profile launch at Felixstowe, Freightliner have also introduced a new route from Southampton to Cardiff. The relatively short haul from the south coast English port to Freightliner’s terminal in the Welsh capital is a significant development for rail freight operations overall. Freightliner acknowledge that the service is backed by DP World’s new modal shift programme in operation at Southampton. There are financial incentives in place to encourage customers to take advantage of the recently improved rail handling facilities on the south coast.

Important environmental messages made clear

Lineside observers across Great Britain will spot the distinctive yellow-gold and black livery in several unexpected movements from Monday. In addition to those headline ship-to-shore movements, there are other new services from Felixstowe to Manchester and Southampton to Leeds. There’s also an export service from Birmingham to Felixstowe. Birmingham is also connected as of Monday to London Gateway, the port complex downriver on the Thames, offering manufacturers in the Midlands with a route into South East England and on to Europe. Other services in this squadron of launches include a trip from the Forth Ports facility at Grangemouth in Central Scotland to Daventry in the English Midlands. A short run is also inaugurated between Manchester and Birmingham.

“We are constantly looking at new innovative ways to offer our customers more carbon efficient services”, said Chris Lawrenson, Freightliner’s Managing Director of Intermodal Logistics, who repeated the important environmental messages made clear by this squadron of new services. “For every Intermodal train introduced, up to 52 HGVs are removed from our congested roads and up to 76 per cent [of] carbon emissions are saved.” For example, the departures from Felixstowe will make a local difference, too. “This new service to rail freight will not only support the modal shift but help to reduce the congestion we all experience along the main A14 road link between Felixstowe and Daventry.”