Leading French port Marseille Fos has launched operations under a European Union (EU) pilot project to create sea/rail logistics corridors moving perishable goods from the Mediterranean basin to markets in central and northern Europe.
Co-financed under the EU’s Connecting Europe facility, the Fresh Food Corridors pilot is running for two years until 2018 and also includes links from Slovenia and Italy involving the ports of Koper and Venice.
In each case, the goods are being shipped from Israel by exporter Mehadrin and forwarded by rail in reefer containers equipped with Genset diesel generators.
The French corridor opened on April 12 when Cosco’s Asiatic King arrived from Ashdod for discharge at the Fos 2XL Seayard container terminal, organised by forwarder Lvanto. Following cargo sanitary inspection, the first train – operated by Eurorail – left on April 13 with 34 containers bound for Rotterdam.
Including the scheduled 36-hour rail leg, the service will halve transit time from Israel to Rotterdam via Fos to just seven days – extending the shelf life of the goods by a week. As well as reducing forwarding times, the Fresh Food initiative aims to cut transport costs, CO2 emissions and road congestion.
The project builds on EU strategy to develop Motorways of the Sea and multimodal cooperation among member states.
The Marseille Fos port authority said the pilot scheme would further demonstrate the port’s position as a competitive, fast and reliable Mediterranean gateway option for Europe-wide markets – in line with its 2014-2018 strategic plan to base enhanced multimodal performance on expanded rail connections.
Meet the Port of Marseille Fos (C30) in Medfel in Perpignan from April 26-28, 2016