New train secures First GBRf’s intermodal services at the Port for the long term
First GBRf has launched a new intermodal train at Felixstowe Port, taking the number of services it operates at the Port from four to five and leading to a new five-year deal with The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
First GBRf currently run two paths from the Port to Hams Hall in the Midlands, with one of these on contract to MSC, along with the MSC service to Selby. The successful acquirement of a third path to Hams Hall, with two of these now contracted to MSC, means it has been able to negotiate a new agreement to manage all three MSC contract services for a further five years for the shipping line.
The new service, made up of 22 wagons, will run daily to the West Midlands, from Monday to Saturday each week, taking the total number of daily departures from the Port to 27. With First GBRf now operating a total of five intermodal trains per day, (three on behalf of MSC and a two of its own ‘Turn up and go’ services), the freight haulier will operate nearly a fifth of all traffic at the Port.
John Smith, Managing Director at First GBRf commented: "We are extremely pleased to have won the right to operate a new service to Birmingham, based on our excellent track record at Felixstowe. The new five-year deal with MSC will secure the intermodal side of our business for the long term and we look forward to enhancing our service offering to MSC.
“Securing the new slot was only made possible through the support and cooperation we received from Hutchisons Port, who through the effective operation of their rail terminals have made the possibility of a new train slot a reality. "
First GBRf, who had the full support of MSC when negotiating the new train slot, won the right to operate an additional service due to the outstanding operational efficiency levels it has achieved at Felixstowe.
Dan Everitt, Managing Director of MSC UK commented:“The majority of freight carried on this new service will be new to rail, with it changing mode from road to rail. As a result the new train will help reduce traffic levels on one of the major trunk routes in the country, the A14, by saving the equivalent of 22,000 lorry journeys per year. Simultaneously, customers will be able to benefit from MSC’s ability to move cargo closer to the final point of delivery prior to the required delivery time – reducing the risk in our customer’s supply chains. MSC are delighted to have secured this new contract service, demonstrating its commitment to multimodal transport in the UK, further strengthening our customers supply chains, at a time when reliability is ever more critical”
Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer for Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said:
“This new service is an important development at the Port of Felixstowe, and we thank First GBRf and MSC for their continued commitment. We want to build on the record rail volumes that we have seen through the Port in 2008, and we will continue to invest in our rail facilities to ensure that rail is viewed as a reliable and economical alternative to road transport.”
First GBRf first started running services at Felixstowe in 2002, after successfully winning a ground breaking five year deal with MSC, to haul containers from Felixstowe, making them the first rail freight operator other than Freightliner to run regular container trains out of the Port.