Maersk subsidiary Sealand is to launch a new rail service between Spain and the UK for perishable cargo like fresh produce. The new transport option is tailored for Spanish fresh produce, has flexible capacity and will initially have three weekly departures from Valencia terminal to Barking terminal in East London. The trains will carry also non-refrigerated cargo on their return journey from the UK to Spain.
The group carried out trials in September with “positive customer feedback”, and regular departures will start end of October, just in time for the Spanish peak season for fruit and vegetable exports. Over 90% of these exports head north, resulting in up to 1,400 trucks daily crossing the northern Spanish border towards the main markets in UK, France, Benelux, Germany and Scandinavia.
Diego Perdones Montero, area managing director France, Iberia and Maghreb, said: “Our new product solves several challenges that our reefer customers in Spain are faced with when exporting. Firstly, many large retailers want to reduce the carbon footprint of the products they sell. Secondly, we have a prevailing shortage of truck drivers, which means that currently cross-border road transport is often limited and unreliable. Thirdly, capacity and quality of the major roads are limited which leads to congestion. Our rail transport makes Spanish exporters independent from the driver shortage as well as road bottlenecks, and offers more than 90% lower CO2 emissions than a truck on the road.”
More destinations could follow, including integrated ocean and rail solutions.