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GB Railfreight delighted as HS2 receives green light



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 Shipping Lines

CMA CGM launches PIACENZA RAIL SHUTTLE, a new train service connecting the Port of Genoa with the Piacenza logistics hub




CMA CGM launches PIACENZA RAIL SHUTTLE, a new train service connecting the Port of Genoa with the Piacenza logistics hub. Image: CMA CGM
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The CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, is pleased to announce the introduction on February 8th, 2020, of PIACENZA RAIL SHUTTLE, a new rail service connecting the Port of Genoa with the Piacenza logistics hub, operated in cooperation with GTS, one of the leading intermodal rail operators in Italy.

Weekly train connections perfectly aligned with CMA CGM’s deep-sea services

The PIACENZA RAIL SHUTTLE service will officially start with its first train departure from Genoa on February 8th. Three departures per week between the Port of Genoa and Piacenza will enhance CMA CGM’s intermodal offer and provide customers with a reliable and fast rail connection between Italy’s busiest port and a major logistics hub. From Piacenza, the Group’s clients will indeed have access to more than 1,700 door locations through the industrial regions of Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto.

In Genoa, the train schedules are perfectly synchronized with the arrivals and departures of the CMA CGM Group’s vessels, providing customers with a steady and seamless connection to the Group’s deep-sea services, which include AMERIGO (Mediterranean – North America East Coast), MEX (Mediterranean Sea – Middle East/India), NEMO (North Europe – Mediterranean Sea – Australia – South Asia – Indian Sub-Continent) and SIRIUS (East Coast South America – West Mediterranean).


An excellent alternative to road transport

The PIACENZA RAIL SHUTTLE service, which allows customers to lower even more their carbon impact, is yet another example of CMA CGM’s continuous commitment to offer its customers the most environmentally-friendly services. It is also in line with CMA CGM’s strategy to offer reliable intermodal end-to-end transport solutions to its customers. As an alternative to road transport, this new service is independent of the road congestion, resulting in more planning certainty for the customers.


  • Linking the Port of Genoa to Piacenza
  • 52 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) capacity per leg
  • Three weekly departures
  • Launch: February 8th from the Port of Genoa
  • Perfectly synchronized with CMA CGM’s ship schedules in Genoa

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Logistics & Supply Chain

India improves transportation of perishables on Kisan Rail




India improves transportation of perishables on Kisan Rail. Image: Pixabay
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Indian Railways’ drives for the Development of Cold Chain for Transportation of Perishable Traffic. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to set up Kisan Rail in public-private-partnership(PPP) mode for cold  supply chain for perishables, inclusive of milk, meat and fish.

She said, The budget proposes that “To build a  seamless national cold supply chain  for perishables, the Indian Railways will set up a “Kisan Rail”- through PPP  arrangements. There shall be refrigerated coaches in Express and Freight trains as well.”

Towards satisfaction of the spending proposition, following are the significant activities which have just been taken by Indian Railways with respect to Development of Cold Chain for Transportation of Perishable Traffic

Refrigerated Parcel Vans: New design of Refrigerated Parcel Vans (VPR, carrying capacity of 17 tonnes) for transportation of highly perishable parcel traffic was developed, and procured through Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala. At present, Indian Railway has a fleet of nine (09) Refrigerated Parcel Vans available.

These Refrigerated Parcel Vans are booked on round-trip basis, and are charged at 1.5 times the freight of normal VP as per category of train.

Reefer (Ventilated Insulated) Rail Containers:  98 Ventilated Insulated Containers (Carrying capacity 12 Tonnes per container, rake composition 80 containers)  have been procured, through CONCOR, for movement of fruits and vegetables to different parts of the country.

Cold Storage Facilities for Perishables:  Temperature controlled perishable cargo centres’ have been commissioned at Ghazipur Ghat (U.P), New Azadpur (Adarsh Nagar, Delhi) and Raja ka Talab (U.P) as a pilot project under Kisan Vision Project by CONCOR under CSR initiative. Another project is under construction at Lasalgaon, Nasik (Maharashtra).

Approval has been granted to Central Railside Warehousing Corporation (CRWC) to develop temperature controlled storages at Fatuha and Mancheswar.

Cold storage facilities have also been developed at Dadri. Fresh & Healthy Enterprise Ltd. (FHEL) has been redeveloped as Agriculture Logistic Center at Rai, Sonepat. This facility is CONCOR’s 100% owned subsidiary developed in an area of 16.40 acres of land.

Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said, the Railways is also planning to expand the Kisan Rail across the country. 

Mr Yadav said, the aim of the government is to make Railway, the growth of engine for the country’s economy. He said, the government has also enhanced the investment and will modernize its network across the country in the next five years.

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Rail Freight

Government investment allows more Northland freight on rail



Government investment allows more Northland freight on rail. Image: KiwiRail
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The Government’s latest investment in Northland will enable hi-cube container freight to be transported by rail in the region for the first time ever, KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller says.

State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced a further $109.7 million rail investment through the Provincial Growth Fund at an event in Whangarei.

$69.7 million will be spent on lowering tracks in the 13 tunnels between Swanson and Whangarei; reopening the currently mothballed rail line north of Whangarei, between Kauri and Otiria; and building a container terminal at the Otiria rail yard, in Moerewa.

“I’m really impressed by the ingenuity of KiwiRail’s engineering staff to be able to lower the tracks in the tunnels – which is a lot less expensive than boring bigger tunnels.

“The tunnel work will have a huge impact on how freight is moved in and out of Northland.

“Currently 18 million tonnes of cargo is moved in and out of the region every year. Of that, around 30,000 containers leave Northland by road. Most aren’t able to fit through the tunnels, but this investment will change that – opening up a whole new market to rail.”

Mr Miller says that not only does rail have 66 per cent fewer emissions than road freight and help reduce congestion by taking trucks off the roads, it also offers road maintenance cost savings.

“Road maintenance costs were not fully known when HPMV licences were first issued a decade ago. It’s now proving far more strategic for NZ Inc to invest in rail, to help avoid escalating road maintenance bills. The fact is rail is designed specifically for short, medium and long haul heavy cargo transport. Our roads are not.

“I am delighted to have the support of New Zealand’s biggest trucking companies as our current customers and future partners.”

Mr Miller says reopening the line to Otiria and building the container terminal will catalyse the growth of agriculture, horticulture, dairy and support forestry in the far North.

“This part of Northland is what the Bay of Plenty was like 40 years ago. Connecting the Bay to rail resulted in phenomenal growth and helped create the prosperity it experiences today. Rail access has the same ability to transform Northland, as a critical infrastructure that will unlock value in the region.

“Rail will help build a bright future for Northland and we want to maximise benefits for the region now.

“Around 200 contracted staff will be working on 10 fronts across Northland simultaneously, and KiwiRail is taking on 12 more local staff for ongoing maintenance of the Northland Line.

“We will also be looking at where we can take on new apprentices to get more young people into our industry and will support our contract partners with their recruitment as well.

“We’re trying to use Northland-based contractors for our rebuild project where possible, so that this investment flows straight back into Northland’s economy.”

This is the second PGF investment in Northland rail, following the $94.8 million provided to make significant improvements to the Northland Line between Swanson and Whangarei, announced last year.

Local firm United Civil Construction has been awarded a contract to replace two bridges on the line near Whangarei.

“It’s great to see this level of infrastructure spending in the North and particularly pleasing to see local businesses get involved in this project, with spending going back  into our communities,” United Civil Construction Managing Director Andrew Campbell says.

“This contract will allow us to take on more staff and provide additional training opportunities, including various civil engineering apprenticeships and diploma cadetships, which will help develop much sought-after skills within the region.

“There is also plenty of opportunity for our local sub-contracting and supply partners to participate in various elements of the project.”

As part of today’s announcement, $40 million will be used by KiwiRail to purchase land along the designated rail route between Oakleigh and Northport/Marsden Point.

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