Tag: Rail Transport

FirstGBRf extends Royal Mail contract to move mail by rail until 2010

FirstGroup-owned rail freight company FirstGBRf said it has extended its contract with Royal Mail to transport post until 2010.

The deal will see the freight haulier move more than 1 mln items a day on two return services between Willesden in London, Warrington and Wishaw in Scotland.

FirstGBR started carrying post for Royal Mail at the end of 2004, marking a return to the railways for the postal service following the end of its contract with previous postal train operator English, Welsh & Scottish Railway due to a disagreement over costs.

FirstGBRf did not disclose the value of the contract.

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Swiss intermodal operators on a roll

Swiss intermodal operators no longer need subsidies from their government, because intermodal is performing so well, according to operator Hupac.

Bernhard Kunz, director of Hupac, said the success was partly thanks to a pro-rail freight policy by the Swiss government that included substantial investments in both terminals and infrastructure.

Three years ago, rail freight volumes surpassed those of road in Switzerland.

Hupac is planning to invest EUR 44m (USD 56m) a year by 2010 in new terminal infrastructure and rolling stock.

The Swiss government is currently funding vital infrastructure developments including two tunnels, one of which is being inaugurated this week, the second in 2017.
Hupac currently moves around 1.1m teu of goods a year around Europe, using 100 trains with dedicated terminals and IT systems.

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Royal Mail says change is the only option

Royal Mail said today that it would continue its drive to modernise the business to allow it to compete and thrive in the competitive market.

Commenting on the outcome of a strike ballot held by the Communication Workers Union on pay, conditions and the business plan, the company said that the union had balloted 127,000 people and that 66,064 people had voted for strike action. That’s around half of the number balloted and excludes more than 20,000 people who aren’t union members.

Royal Mail said that the CWU had tried to create a political issue rather than focussing on a pay deal which offers 2.5% on basic pay as well as a dividend of GBP 800 and a 50:50 productivity sharing scheme. Colleagues in Parcelforce, the group’s parcel’s division, have already voted to accept a similar pay offer on a recommendation by the CWU.

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Kuehne + Nagel rises to challenge of congested British roads

Kuehne+Nagel is opening an intermodal terminal in central England to meet the increasing challenge of moving deepsea containers through British ports on ever more congested roads.

The Swiss global logistics provider has signed a deal to use part of ABP Connect’s rail-connected Hams Hall facility on the outskirts of Birmingham. It expects to start operations there within two months.

K+N’s chief executive for North West Europe, Peter Ulber, said that initially the intention was to run up to three container trains a day, two from Southampton and one from Felixstowe.

The development of those operations will help K+N to double the proportion of ocean freight containers it moves around the country by rail rather than by road.

‘Three years ago we had zero movement of containers by rail,’ he said. ‘Now the figure is about 25% and we expect within two years to increase that to 50%.’

The planned opening of the Hams Hall operation, was ‘in line with the strategy of being able to control (container) flows ourselves all the way to the distribution centres of our customers’.

In addition to the container train connections from and to leading ports, contracted out to existing operators such as EWS and Freightliner, the Hams Hall terminal would also handle ‘at least a certain percentage’ of the company’s road-based container movements in the country.

Last year K+N’s British contract logistics division had seen GBP80m (USD158m) of existing contracts renewed and also secured GBP140m of new contracts.

Based on turnover, K+N is now number three in the British contract logistics market behind DHL and Wincanton. Plans for further developing that business included expanding total capacity by about 10%.

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