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Robert.Jervis_43227 Jun 08

Tarmac commits to renewable fuel in rail freight sustainability drive

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Maritime Intermodal also conducts trials
Tarmac and its rail freight partner DB Cargo UK have announced that the delivery of construction materials on a key strategic route will be powered entirely by 100 per cent renewable fuel.

The partners have confirmed that environmentally friendly hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) will be fuelling all freight trains running between Tarmac’s Mountsorrel site in Leicestershire and its rail-fed asphalt plant in the centre of Birmingham, as part of an ongoing commitment to supporting the sustainable delivery of the UK’s infrastructure ambitions.

HVO is one of the greenest fuels currently commercially available and is made synthetically through the hydro-treatment of vegetable oils or animal fats, which significantly lowers the amount of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emitted when used in diesel engines.

Previous trials by DB Cargo UK have estimated that as much as 90 per cent of a train’s carbon emissions can be eliminated by using HVO fuel compared to traditional red diesel.

Chris Swan, Head of Rail at Tarmac, said:

“We’re constantly looking to explore and adopt new innovations that support efficient and sustainability delivery, allowing us to move the right materials to the right place for customers. Developing our rail freight capability and capacity is key to our operations and aligns with the national agenda to deliver a low-carbon built environment. 

“As the fight to cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution intensifies, rail freight is becoming increasingly important for our sector and the adoption of new, sustainable fuels will further help to drive down emissions.”

Roger Neary, DB Cargo UK’s Head of Sales, said:

“We are delighted that Tarmac has agreed to the exclusive use of HVO fuel on this key strategic route, which will deliver an important reduction in our own and our customer’s carbon emissions.

“Rail freight is already a much greener alternative to road haulage, so to reduce our carbon footprint even further will, I hope, make businesses re-evaluate their own transport strategies. If they want to reduce their own carbon emissions, then rail freight is the obvious choice over road.”

In line with its national legally binding commitments, the UK government has set the rail industry a target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Tarmac’s continued development of its rail freight capabilities forms part of the company’s wider commitment to reducing CO2 from transport across the whole business. 

The business is one of the UK’s largest users of rail freight and currently transports more than nine million tonnes of construction materials by rail across the UK each year, helping to cut carbon from road vehicle movements.

DB Cargo UK and Maritime Intermodal have also conducted trials of HVO fuel

The companies have conducted trials of HVO on their rail freight services from the Port of Felixstowe to East Midlands Gateway last month.

Maritime was the first of DB Cargo UK’s intermodal customers to trial the use of the environmentally-friendly fuel on its services.
Throughout May, two Class 66 locomotives (66085 and 66077) hauled a total of 19 services back and forth between the port and Maritime’s new facility in the East Midlands.

DB Cargo UK’s Head of Sales Roger Neary said:

“We are delighted that Maritime agreed to be the first intermodal customer to work with us on this exciting project that could ultimately lead to a significant reduction in our carbon footprint and that of our customers.

John Bailey, Managing Director (Intermodal and Terminals) at Maritime, said:

“We are thrilled to be the first intermodal service to take part in this ground-breaking project, which reinforces Maritime’s and DB’s commitment to greener and more sustainable rail freight solutions.
“The environment remains at the top of our transport agenda, and we are confident the HVO fuel will ultimately play a critical role in reducing carbon emissions across our operations. We look forward to seeing the results which if successful, will allow us to extend more of our services with the support of our customers.”