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Robert.Jervis_43227 Apr 28

GB Railfreight celebrates 20 years of operations out of Felixstowe

gbrf msc fxt
Also unveils new hybrid locomotive
GB Railfreight (GBRf) has celebrated its longstanding partnership with the Port of Felixstowe, marking 20 years since GBRf and the port first collaborated on an inaugural intermodal service to transport goods across the UK for MSC.
 
The growth in the partnership and the port itself has been exponential over the past 20 years. Since the first service, GBRf has gone on to operate 50 daily services nationwide, of which 14 are for MSC. The port has expanded from 28 to 76 daily trains over the 20 years, with 30 of these belonging to GBRf, resulting in 166 GBRf trains running to and from Felixstowe each week.
 
With the launch of three new GBRf services out of Felixstowe over the last 12 months, the partnership between GB Railfreight and the Port of Felixstowe has grown year on year.
 
With the port’s expansion, GBRf serves more customers than ever before, transporting 245,240 containers in and out of the port in 2021, and 62,441 containers in the first quarter of 2022 alone – utilising Felixstowe’s reputation as the largest deep sea port in order to deliver better and more efficient services for its customers. Additionally, GB Railfreight has been servicing seven of the inland terminals since 2002, further bolstering the port’s ability to fortify the UK’s supply chains and help grow the economy.
 
In the years ahead Felixstowe is expected to expand further, creating 90 daily rail freight services from the port. GBRf has already launched three new services – iPort, Tinsley and Birch Coppice – in the past 12 months. GBRf currently employs c.100 members of staff at the port, from which they run a seven-day-a-week service and intend to increase the number of staff and services to meet customer demand.
 
The effectiveness of the relationship has been particularly on show over the past two years. GBRf is proud of the part it played in working with the Port of Felixstowe to keep the UK’s economy moving during the pandemic and supplying vital PPE at the height of the first lockdown in 2020. More recently, from the HGV driver shortages, Brexit impacts and the pressure of Christmas supply chains, the collaboration ensured goods kept on flowing to consumers and businesses without any significant disruption.
 
John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight, said:

“Without our 20-year partnership we would not have been able to support the UK economy in the way that we did. Felixstowe has been crucial to the success of GBRf and the wider rail freight sector, enabling us to deliver more services, in a more efficient way, to customers. In the next 20 years our partnership will be multi-faceted, as we work together to make the UK’s supply chains even more resilient, efficient, and importantly, sustainable too”.
 
Clemence Cheng, CEO, Port of Felixstowe, said:

“GB Railfreight are a key partner helping to ensure that we are able to offer shippers a range of frequent, efficient and sustainable distribution options from the Port of Felixstowe. We have worked closely with them as their operation has grown over the last 20 years and look forward to continuing the relationship long into the future.”

MSC is exhibiting at Multimodal on stand 4060

Separately, GBRf has unveiled its new hybrid Class 99 locomotive, marking a major development in the decarbonisation of UK supply chains and consumer and business purchases.
 
Designed and built in collaboration with Stadler and Beacon Rail, the new hybrid locomotive – the first Heavy Freight Locomotive capable of hauling mainline speeds and tonnages on UK rail networks – will run from 2025 and are intended to replace existing diesel-only powered Class 66 locomotives.
 
Carrying millions of consumer and business goods from ports and terminals, such as Felixstowe, to logistics hubs, the new trains will operate along electrified and non-electrified tracks across the UK. The Class 99s are expected to cut emissions by c.50% per journey and become the most sustainable mode of moving goods for the UK public and businesses. It is anticipated that the new hybrid model will reduce GBRf’s carbon footprint by 428 tonnes per working day across intermodal services operating along partially electrified lines.
 
The UK government’s electrification rollout, which is taking place over the next decade, will enable the Class 99 to run on electricity across all UK routes and reduce emissions by 585,000 tonnes of carbon per year. 
 
Rail freight already moves the economy around the UK and this investment will enable GB Railfreight and the wider industry to do it even more sustainably. Each year GB Railfreight transports containers of consumer goods, from wine, food to garden furniture. The major efficiency of these trains will enable consumers and businesses to cut their own footprints and make better purchasing decisions.
 
John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight, said:
 
“Rail freight is not just the backbone of the UK’s economy; it is now leading the push to decarbonise supply chains. Our new and cutting-edge locomotives will immediately make a huge impact on reducing CO2 emissions, improve choice for businesses and consumers, and cut their carbon footprints when purchasing goods. If scaled, with the help of the UK government to electrify more routes, the Class 99 locomotive can play an even greater role in helping supply chains and business operations become significantly more climate friendly.”
 
Industry Minister, Lee Rowley said:
 
“Making our rail networks more sustainable is hugely important to ensuring our supply chains can continue to be the cornerstone of the UK’s economic growth.
 
“The launch of the Class 99, the first hybrid locomotive to run on UK rail networks, is a big moment for the British rail and freight industry. By helping GB Railfreight to cut emissions by half per journey, it will help to usher in a new age of low carbon goods transport in the UK.”
 
Inigo Parra, CEO of Stadler Valencia said:
 
“Stadler has extensive experience in the UK locomotive market.  Over recent years we have introduced with Beacon the Class 68 diesel-electric locomotive and the Class 88 bi-mode locomotive.  We are very proud to go one-step further with the development of the Class 99, a versatile, high-performance locomotive that will provide environmentally-friendly and cost-effective rail transport services.” 
 
Beacon CEO, Adam Cunliffe, said:
 
“Beacon is proud to introduce the Class 99 to the market; this is the result of a collaborative approach with our long-standing customer GB Railfreight and manufacturer Stadler.  The Class 99 order underlines Beacon’s drive to support the UK’s journey towards a greener and more efficient rail network.  We look forward to supporting the delivery programme for these locomotives ahead of introduction to service in 2025, providing further momentum to facilitate modal shift from road to rail.”