The arrival of 36 rail wagons packed with alloy metals marked a 306-year record for Port of Sunderland this month.

Arriving onto the Port’s multimodal site, the 585 metre long DB Cargo UK freight train became the longest to transit the port in its three-century history.

Carrying just under 2,000 tonnes of metal, the delivery was the latest in an established cargo flow transporting goods to the port on behalf of a client in the North East.

Since the 2014 restitution by Network Rail of its operational infrastructure connecting the Port to the national rail network, rail freight volumes have slowly re-established themselves thanks to increased partnership working between the port, Network Rail and the freight operating company, DB Cargo UK.

This collaboration between has provided a major boost to the port’s multimodal credentials, allowing it to maximise the advantage of longer and heavy rail consignments.

Matthew Hunt, Director at Port of Sunderland, said:

“Seeing rail freight flows utilising our multimodal facility for regular, scheduled flows is most welcome.

“Since the return of rail cargo to the port, we have worked tirelessly to promote our multi-modal capabilities and demonstrate the sustainable efficiencies in supply chains that working with the port can provide and this is a marvellous example of this.

“It really is industry collaborative working at its best, helping to sustain the supply of a vital feeds stock commodity to one of the Port’s valued customers, creating a real positive economic impact and we’re proud to be playing a part in helping enable that. Long may it continue.”

Kevin Newman, Senior Route Freight Manager at Network Rail, said:

“We’re delighted to be supporting the Port of Sunderland as we continue to encourage an acceleration to move to rail freight.

“The breaking of this record is a huge achievement and aligns well with Network Rail’s ambitions to greatly reduce carbon emissions and support the UK Government’s net zero target of 2050.”

Roger Neary, Chief Sales Officer at DB Cargo UK, said:

“There is a growing demand for freight companies to run longer and heavier trains as it makes clear economic and environmental sense.

“As the UK’s largest transporter of metal products, we were proud to play a part in this record-breaking delivery.”

Matthew added:

“The restitution of the port’s rail freight operational capacity has been truly transformational.

“I am so proud to be a member of a team so focused on the delivery of a strategic plan to diversify our business streams and establish the port as a firm location of choice for self-funding private sector investment and I am confident that there is yet more to come as we look to the future.”

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