Even Father Christmas needs a helping hand and this year GB Railfreight (GBRf) will be taking some of the load as it begins to deliver products that will soon be on the shelves of the UK’s major grocery stores and retailers, ready to be opened by adults and children alike all over the UK in time for the 25th December.
Operating its first intermodal service from Solent Stevedores terminal at ABP Port of Southampton to ABP Hams Hall Rail Freight Terminal, GBRf will be helping to spread Christmas cheer and ensuring supermarkets and high street stores meet what is expected to be high levels of demand over Christmas.
Speaking about the opportunity, John Smith, GBRf’s managing director, said: “GBRf is delighted that we, along with our new client Wincanton, will be able to help Father Christmas bring joy and happiness to the whole country this year. And that we will be able to do so in a way that reduces the impact that moving so many presents around could have on things like air quality, if they went by road. Our priority at this time of year is to ensure that everyone has a very merry Christmas, and we will be working to deliver this to the whole of the UK.”
This marks a significant expansion of GBRf’s activities as it will be the second deep-sea port from which the company operates rail services. It realises a long-held ambition.
At 02:39am, the class 66 engine 66703 Doncaster PSB departed hauling 34 platforms fully laden with containers on its first round-trip on behalf of Wincanton, a service that will operate daily (Tuesday to Saturday). Its containers will carry cargo for major high street retailers that will end up distributed across the country for consumers to purchase in time for Christmas.
GBRf will operate this service for five years, having been awarded the contract on Friday 20th October, and continues to demonstrate how the company is one of the rail freight industry’s great success stories. This has seen it pioneer the development of alternative core commodity markets such as intermodal freight.
John Smith also said: “I am so proud to see GBRf continue to grow and expand into new markets, working with new clients, and showing how rail can help decongest our roads and clean our air. This new contract is a testament to our staff’s work ethic and their dedication to the highest standard of customer service.
“Over the next five years we will work closely with our new partners at Wincanton to ensure we deliver the services they require and provide their business with the certainty they need. We are sure that this is only the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership that will enable both organisations to flourish.”
Also commenting on the new service, Fiona Robson Managing Director of Solent Stevedores said
“We are pleased to welcome GBRf as a rail user to our terminal and look forward to the continued expansion of more rail freight from ABP Port of Southampton.”
ABP Southampton has also undergone recent upgrades that will support the new contract between GBRf and Wincanton. £2.4m has been invested in a new 5.8 acre facility operated by Solent Stevedores, which has seen turnaround times halved, vastly improved capacity, and driven container throughput.
Alastair Welch, ABP Southampton Director, said: “The improvements to the rail freight facilities enable Solent Stevedores to increase the number of containers they can handle and an increase to the number of trains coming to the port. This is an excellent example of partnership working.”
For further information, please contact:
020 3397 0100
About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com