Transfesa Logistics and Euro Pool System (EPS) have signed an agreement to work together to extend CoolRail routes across Europe. The partnership will see the initial direct rail connection for refrigerated products between Valencia and Rotterdam expanded to countries throughout the continent, including the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and Poland. The service will continue to be called CoolRail.
Bernd Hullerum, CEO of Transfesa Logistics, said: “The association with Euro Pool System is a great opportunity for us to show the fresh produce market that the railroad can be just as fast and reliable as road service. In addition, it contributes to achieve more environmentally friendly supply chains, since a train emits nine times less CO2 than a lorry.”
The new service will make use of the infrastructure of DB Cargo, the main shareholder of Transfesa Logistics.
Transitex will begin operating a weekly train between Elvas and the Port of Huelva in June 2020, marking a new phase in the company’s history. Transitex is aware of the growth of the region and the need for a varied offer of solutions that allows companies to continue growing in a sustainable way. The Port of Huelva, due to its growth, geographical proximity and the alternatives it offers, is a fundamental link in the success story that Transitex has helped to build, collaborating for the cohesion of this border area of the peninsula.
Transitex began its activity in Elvas in July 2005 and operates between the logistics platform and the ports on the Atlantic coast. Containers are transported weekly from Elvas, offering logistics solutions from both sides of the border to increase the competitiveness of companies in the region. In the last 15 years, the ports of Sines, Setúbal, Lisbon and Leixões have received cargo transported by Transitex, a service integrated into the door-to-door offer that the network of its own offices allows it to build, across four continents.
Credit: Sandra Zeillstra (FLD)
CoolRail is Europe’s first rail connection for fresh produce, serving south and north-western Europe. The initiative, started by Euro Pool System in May 2019 to ensure greater efficiency and sustainability in the fresh supply chain, consists of a direct train link between the ports of Valencia and Rotterdam, with dedicated trains three times a week in both directions, as well as a connecting line with Barcelona. Key account manager, Miguel Ángel Hidalgo, said, “The project actually began in 2012, when the Dutch retailer Albert Hein sought an alternative to road transport and Euro Pool System decided it was a strategic necessity to be certified as ‘Lean and Green’ and reach its goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% by 2025.” In fact, CoolRail goes far beyond meeting these objectives. International Flows Manager, Fred Lessing, said, “We collaborated on this project with the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. While we believed the reduction of CO2 emissions would be of the order of 30-50%, the results of a study estimate that saving will instead be of between 70% and 90%, depending on content of truck or train.”
This prime example of a circular economy provides added value for CoolRail’s customers, who, besides Albert Hein, already number Bakker, Bollo and Primaflor, with great interest shown across the continent, which can be served by connecting truck services. CoolRail currently rents over 100 diesel-electric reefers to maintain the cold chain. As one train is the equivalent of 42 trucks, CoolRail will replace 13,000 trucks per year, thereby removing 15,000 tons of C02 from the supply chain and saving the energy produced by six wind turbines in a year. It will also reduce traffic congestion on Europe’s busy road network. A successful pilot study was carried out in Germany in 2016.
A new direct connection for fresh products from Valencia to Rotterdam was opened on May 6th. The refrigerated train connection for transporting fruits and vegetables is an initiative developed by the Euro Pool System, which is a supplier of logistics services and reusable packaging for agri-food distribution. For the project, Euro Pool has collaborated with logistics operator Shuttlewise and other companies in the retail and fruit and vegetable logistics sectors.
The transit time of 48 hours is the same as by road, but ensures a lower environmental impact. The link will result in eliminating 12,096 transports per year in a trailer and saving 22 million km of CO2 emissions, equal to 15,000 tons. This will result in between 70% and 90% lower emissions than by road. The round trip will take place three times a week, 48 weeks a year, and each train will carry 42 containers.
Similar CoolRail routes are planned connect other points in Europe, such as Germany, the UK and Scandinavia. There is also an expansion of the Mediterranean Corridor from Almeria to La Junquera, thus facilitating Spanish exports to northern Europe.