November 04, 2014: Groupe Eurotunnel SA announces that the Glasgow-based UK multimodal logistics provider, John G. Russell, has contracted Eurotunnel rail freight subsidiary, Europorte, to run a Cross- Channel Intermodal rail service for its customers 2XL and Novatrans.
The flow, which will start this month, will comprise 5 trains per week between Dourges (near Lille) and Barking, transporting products for Procter & Gamble. The trains will travel through the Channel Tunnel and then up High Speed 1.
The knowledge and professionalism of the Europorte and Russell teams have brought together all the interested parties to achieve a major step forward utilising a route that achieves European gauge capability, with a delivery right to the outskirts of London. This is further proof that the Atlantic Rail freight Corridor (ARC), which will link the Pyrenees to Dourges, should be extended through the Channel Tunnel to Great Britain to improve its profitability.
This contract is a demonstration of the competitive option offered by cross-Channel rail freight compared to maritime routes. It shows the efficiencies that can be gained by reducing unnecessary ground handling whilst also limiting carbon emissions for transporters who are increasingly seeking an environmentally friendly alternative.
Following the double-digit growth in cross-Channel rail freight in the third quarter of 2014, Eurotunnel has outlined the five most significant barriers to companies seeking to launch new rail freight services, to an audience of rail specialists:
- Differences in train dimensions: In Italy, the length of trains is limited to 500m, in Spain it is 400m and in Germany 600m compared to 750m in France and the UK, thereby limiting transport capacity (25% less capacity between Italy and the UK)
- Gauge differences: the gauge of the UK network is narrower and requires lower wagons than the rest of Europe. These wagons are more expensive and have a reduced capacity. This increases transport costs by €300 per train and reduces revenues by 20%.
- The generalized use of "long" (13.6m) containers, which are less adaptable to "multi- freight" wagons, across continental Europe
- The lack of electrification on lines from the Channel Tunnel across Kent
- The absence of a rail freight corridor linking Manchester and Birmingham.
Buoyed by this demonstration of support, Eurotunnel is calling on the governments to take the measures necessary at every step of the process to put more freight onto rail and to help develop clean and sustainable cross-Channel transport.