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GB Railfreight delighted as HS2 receives green light

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GB Railfreight delighted as HS2 receives green light. Image: GB Railfreight
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GB Railfreight has expressed its delight and relief that the high-speed line from London to Birmingham received the go-ahead this morning following the publication of the Oakervee Review.

HS2, which was green-lighted in a statement to the House of Commons by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, following a meeting of the Cabinet, will begin construction in the coming weeks, over a decade after it was originally proposed.

GB Railfreight, one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector, has been preparing to support construction logistics, including removing spoil and waste, and delivering inbound materials.

The Prime Minister’s announcement was followed by the publication of the Government-commissioned Oakervee Review into HS2, which concluded that “on balance Ministers should proceed” with the project as the “original rationale for HS2 still holds”.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, who submitted a response to the Oakervee Review, said:

“I am delighted and relieved the Government has given the green light to the project. HS2 will be the first new railway constructed north of London for over a century, creating much needed capacity and connections across the North and Midlands. There is no other viable alternative to the project, as both the Oakervee Review and the Prime Minister have acknowledged.

“By signing off on the scheme, the Government has committed to expanding capacity beyond just passenger services. The decision will free up extra capacity on the West Coast Mainline which will help the growth of rail freight, supporting economic growth across the UK and helping the delivery of the Government’s targets to decarbonise the economy by supporting the shift of freight from road to more sustainable rail services.

“Delivering HS2 will, in the long term, support the UK’s regional cities and towns to prosper and connect to other surrounding areas. I applaud the Prime Minister for making the right decision rather than delay any further.”

Container Terminal

Eco-friendly intermodal solution connects Spain, UK and Ireland

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Eco-friendly intermodal solution connects Spain, UK and Ireland. Image: APM Terminals
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Together with Containerships (CMA-CGM group), APM Terminals Gijon has formed an eco-friendly logistic chain connecting major Spanish cities to the UK and Ireland. The solution uses block trains, LNG vessels and bio-fuel trucks for unbeatable eco-friendly credentials.

Block trains connect APM Terminals Gijon with Seville, Murcia, Valencia, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Madrid and Burgos up to twice a week. Scheduled to arrive at APM Terminals Gijon in time for a Friday departure, the vessel will arrive in Liverpool, UK on Monday and Dublin, Ireland on Tuesday. The service is suitable for all types of containerized cargo, including hazardous cargo.

Located on Spain’s northern coast, APM Terminals Gijon is ideally placed for the UK. “In addition to the clear environmental benefits offered by this service, customers can also cut the time to UK and Irish markets from Spain, compared to shipments made from other Spanish ports,” says Terminal Manager, Miguel Ruiz.

Each block train has a 52 TEU capacity and the potential to remove up to 26 trucks from the road. As well as reducing traffic congestion, the diesel locomotives used for this block train service are, according to statistics published by the Association of American Railroads, estimated to be three to four times more fuel efficient than diesel trucks and lower greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75% compared to trucks.

APM Terminals Gijon is equipped with a 450m on dock track for fast and efficient loading and a separate rail yard with two 350m tracks for optimum flexibility. In the future, the service has the capacity to scale up to a daily service for the cities currently served.

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Rail Freight

GB Railfreight and Drax extend rail contract to transport biomass until 2025

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GB Railfreight and Drax extend rail contract to transport biomass until 2025. Image: GB Railfreight
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GB Railfreight and Drax have agreed to extend their contract to transport supplies of sustainable biomass from UK ports to Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire until 2025.

Teams at GBRf have worked closely with Drax for the past decade to maintain the supplies of sustainable biomass needed for the UK’s largest power station to continue generating the flexible and reliable renewable power for millions of UK homes and businesses. This deal is critical to Drax’s global biomass supply chain and another step on its journey to negative emissions.

Drax supplies 11% of the UK’s renewable electricity. Using sustainable biomass instead of coal at Drax Power Station has reduced emissions by more than 80% and helped the UK power system decarbonise faster than any other country in Europe.

Under the terms of the contract, GBRf will run all of Drax tonnage from the Ports of Tyne and Liverpool to Drax Power Station.

The partnership between GBRf and Drax dates back to 2010 when GBRf began moving biomass by rail from the Port of Tyne. Originally, GBRf used wagons that had been converted from coal hoppers by adding lids and these remain in use under the new contract. As Drax converted more of its coal units at the power station to sustainable biomass, Drax invested in new purpose-built biomass wagons that are larger and therefore more efficient at carrying the pellets.

In the past year, the longstanding relationship between Drax and GBRf has helped overcome challenges such as the local floods in February to the Drax branch line and then the Covid-19 crisis, ensuring continuous flows of biomass that helped keep the power station running and the lights on in Britain.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:

“I am delighted to be continuing GB Railfreight’s ongoing partnership with Drax. We will continue to deliver vital supplies of sustainable biomass for a further five years, ensuring power is generated in a clean and sustainable way as well as reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.

“The announcement also comes at a time of great economic uncertainty for our country. We at GBRf remain committed to getting the UK economy back on track and having worked with Drax over the last few months during testing times I know we will continue to work closely in the months and years to come as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Mike Maudsley, UK Portfolio Generation Director at Drax said:

“GBRf’s rail deliveries are a critical part of our global supply chain for sustainable biomass that supports thousands of jobs and has delivered economic growth across the north of England, while supplying renewable electricity to millions of homes and businesses.

“We’re very pleased to extend our existing contract with GBRf for another five years and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the team.”

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Rail Freight

Indian Railways pulls freight traffic ahead of last year’s level inspite of COVID 19 related challenges

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Indian Railways pulls freight traffic ahead of last year's level inspite of COVID 19 related challenges. Image: Flickr/ Smeet Chowdhury
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On mission mode, Indian Railways achieved a significant milestone of pulling freight traffic ahead of last year’s level inspite of COVID 19 related challenges. The freight loading was 3.13 MT which is higher than last year for the same date.

It may be noted that Hon’ble Prime Minister had emphasized upon achievement of long term and far reaching goals during the lockdown. Accordingly, Railways has completed nearly 200 infrastructure works in this period. Now Railways has achieved a milestone in freight transportation also.

The average speed of Freight Trains on 27 July 2020 was 46.16 kmph which is more than double as compare to last year for the same date (22.52 kmph). In the month of July the average speed of freight trains is 45.03 kmph which is around double as compare to last year for the same month (23.22 kmph). West Central Railway with the average speed of 54.23 kmph, Northeast Frontier Railway with the speed of 51 kmph, East Central Railway 50.24 kmph, East Cost Railway 41.78 kmph, South East Central Railway 42.83 kmph, South Eastern Railway 43.24 kmph and Western Railway with the speed of 44.4 kmph are the leading Railway Zones in the average speed of freight train in Indian Railways.

On 27 July 2020 the total freight loading was 3.13 million tonnes which is higher than last year for the same date. On 27 July 2020 total 1039 no. of rakes loaded with freight in Indian Railways which includes 76 rakes of foodgrain, 67 rakes of fertilizer, 49 rakes of steel, 113 rakes of cement, 113 rakes of iron ore and 363 rakes of coal.

It may be noted that these improvements in freight movements will be institutionalized and incorporated in the upcoming zero based time table. These steps will lead to significantly higher freight traffic and earnings for Railways and cost competitive logistics for the entire country.

It is worth mentioning that a number of concessions/ discounts are also being given in Indian Railways to make Railways Freight movement very attractive.

Covid 19 has been used by Railways an opportunity to improve all round efficiencies and performances.

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