GB Railfreight (GBRf) has begun operating its first Intermodal service from the Solent Stevedores terminal at ABP Port of Southampton to ABP Hams Hall Rail Freight Terminal.
The new service 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 on its first round-trip on behalf of Wincanton, a service that will operate daily five days per week (Tuesday to Saturday). Its containers will carry cargo for major retailers that will end up distributed across the country for consumers to purchase.
GBRf will operate this service for five years, having won 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, GBRf's Managing Director, 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."
Tom Dynes, General Manager at Solent Stevedores comments;
"We are delighted to be working with GBRf to assist them in establishing this new intermodal service. This is testament to the huge amount of hard work undertaken by many of our employees and colleagues at ABP, to upgrade and improve the facilities at the Solent Rail Terminal in Southampton. We believe that we are now one of the most efficient rail terminals in the UK, and we look forward to delivering the highest levels of service to both GBRf and their customers."
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.