BRISTOL, UK: July 21, 2016. Société de Transports de Véhicules Automobiles (STVA), a subsidiary of French Railways (SNCF), has begun an overnight rail delivery service of new cars to Ghent, Belgium via the Channel Tunnel.
The once-weekly service in conjunction with GB Railfreight, part of Groupe Eurotunnel, is made up of nine double-deck STVA wagons each carrying 24 cars for a total of 216 units per week.
STVA UK says the train is a symbol of just-in-time logistics between Continental Europe and the UK as some of the components used in manufacturing the cars are delivered to the Bristol assembly plant from European suppliers via the Tunnel.
John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight, said his company had built a strong relationship with STVA over the past three years and was "really proud" to introduce the new car service: "There is huge potential to increasingly transport bulk items, such as cars, on rail and through the Channel Tunnel, cutting carbon emissions and relieving congestion on our roads."
Following the decline of core commodities such as coal and steel, GB Railfreight says it wants to increase UK rail freight's competiveness in other markets across Europe.
"This is a great example of how the rail freight industry in the UK is continuing to offer real benefits for the environment and for UK businesses," said Britain's newly appointed minister for the rail industry, Paul Maynard MP. "The extensive security measures put in place last year by both the French and UK Governments and Eurotunnel mean that customers now have confidence the Channel Tunnel site is secure and open for new business."
STVA UK managing director Ian Brown added: "This solution is both operationally efficient and environmentally responsible. STVA successfully works with GBRF to transport cars by rail within a domestic context and we are pleased to offer this opportunity to work together on this cross-Channel project."