Maritime Transport has secured a new service at its Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal (BIFT) at Birch Coppice.
The new daily container service operated by GB Railfreight (GBRf), runs between the Port of Felixstowe and BIFT and is the latest rail path to be released by Hutchison Ports, the owner of the Port. The 31st path is the only service between the country’s biggest container port and BIFT and will provide a vital connection between the Port and the large manufacturing and consumer conurbation in the Midlands.
"BIFT is an important strategic freight interchange in the Midlands and we are delighted that GBRf has chosen our rail terminal for their new service," said John Williams, Group Managing Director, Maritime Transport.
GBRf will operate 33-wagon trains initially, increasing to 45, following an order new 15 Ecofret triple-platform wagons. This will represent a capacity increase of more than a third and will enable GBRf to continue to serve the demand for 40 foot containers.
"We are very pleased to have been awarded the 31st rail path by Hutchison Ports and to be able to offer a new service to BIFT," said John Smith, Chief Executive Officer, GB Railfreight.
"Maritime operates a fantastic facility in a great location in the Midlands and we look forward to working with them to deliver a first class service for our customers."
The service will operate from Monday to Friday, calling at BIFT at 17:45. The cut off time for export bookings is 17:00, which will provide flexibility for exporters in the West Midlands to load with an afternoon local haulage collection.
BIFT is located on Birch Coppice Business Park at junction 10/M42 and built less than a decade ago, is one of the newest, purpose-built, intermodal freight hubs in the UK. Set in 25 acres, the facility is capable of handling up to six trains a day, providing 1,000 TEU of temporary loaded/empty container storage and with a fleet of over 100 trucks, delivering a highly efficient door-to-door intermodal service throughout the Midlands.
Commenting on the new service, Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of HPH Europe division, said:
“As well as being the busiest container port in the UK, Felixstowe also operates the country’s biggest intermodal rail facility. In 2014 we handled close to 900,000 TEU by rail. This record volume was achieved by the investment we made in our newest terminal, the North Rail Terminal, and the dedicated employees in our rail team working closely with our customers and Network Rail to improve on our efficiency and the handling of longer trains. The 30+ wagon trains that run from there are the longest intermodal trains in the UK.
“Capacity at the North Rail Terminal is being further enhanced by two new Rail-Mounted Gantry Cranes. Together with the new service launched today, this investment further enhances the unique range and frequency of services available at Felixstowe giving port users greater choice and more opportunities to strip carbon from their supply chains.”
The new rail cranes at Felixstowe have been co-financed by the European Union Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) programme. They bring to nine the number of gantry cranes serving the port’s three rail terminals.