For the first time, a weekly rail service from Valencia, Spain, to Great Britain’s Ford Dagenham railhead offers an environmentally friendly means for importing fresh Spanish produce. In conjunction with rail operator DB Schenker, the new Stobart Rail train service traveled through the Eurotunnel (Chunnel) under the English Channel and arrived in Britain on time recently after a 1,100-mile trip from Valencia.
The first fully refrigerated train service to travel through the Chunnel, Stobart Rail’s Valencia to Dagenham Service is also making the longest train trip in Europe by a single operator. The service will reduce commercial road travel by 13.7 million kilometers annually, and will eliminate 8,625 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Stobart remotely monitors each refrigerated container from “pack-house to customer” to make sure temperatures are precisely controlled and the produce arrives on schedule and in superior condition. On the return trip to Spain, the train will be loaded with pallets being transported for CHEP, so that no empty miles will be traveled.
“We believe this service represents a real breakthrough,’ said Andrew Tinkler, chief executive officer of Stobart Group. ”For the first time, supermarkets and consumers have a quicker and much lower-carbon alternative to importing fresh fruit and veg from Spain by road. In conjunction with our partner DB Schenker, we will start the new service with one train per week, but we believe that when our customers see the benefits we will soon be able to develop this into a daily service, increasing the efficiencies and environmental benefits by a factor of five.”