One very special freight train made its very first beer delivery this week, transporting thousands of litres on the tracks rather than the roads. The so-called ‘beer train’ travelled from Jupille to Ninove in Belguim in a bid to take 5,000 lorries off the road every year with its thrice weekly service. This collaboration between brewery Delhaize, Belgium’s principal rail freight operator Lineas and Oost-Vlaanderen province’s development agency aims to ease the pressure on the nation’s roads by using more sustainable freight by rail.
"The government must... continue to upgrade the rail freight network to cater for the suppressed demand for consumer and bulk services."
Lineas CEO Geert Pauwels said: “This collaboration, in which a retailer like Delhaize transports a consumer product like beer by rail, is new in Belgium. Thanks to this kind of innovative rail solutions, which we develop together with clients, we can breathe new life into the railway and make an important contribution to achieving climate objectives and reducing traffic jams.”
There is no disputing the fact that freight transportation is a safer, cleaner and greener way to transport goods whilst improving road congestion and productivity. This move by the Belgium brewery will contribute to the 90 percent reduction of PM10 particles and up to 15 times less nitrogen dioxide emissions than heavy good vehicles for the same journey.
“Road transport remains necessary in every distribution system, but Delhaize wants to look for sustainable modes of transport, such as the railway, inland shipping or other alternatives, whenever possible. I am very proud that we are able to keep thousands of lorries off the road. Denis Koops, CEO of Delhaize.
Geert Pauwels, CEO of Lineas, added: “Lineas has set the objective to offer such competitive and high-quality rail products that enterprises consciously choose the railway. This collaboration, in which a retailer like Delhaize transports a consumer product like beer by rail, is new in Belgium. Thanks to this kind of innovative rail solutions, which we develop together with clients, we can breathe new life into the railway and make an important contribution to achieving climate objectives and reducing traffic jams.
Also in the news for freight ...
Britain’s rail freight is showing a slightly skewed picture this month. The Office for Rail and Regulation (ORR)’s 2016-17 rail freight usage figures show the volume of domestic intermodal freight moved in the UK rose by 8.9 percent on the previous period and represented 39 percent of all rail freight moved in 2016 – its highest share since 1998-99.
Despite this, the total volume of freight lifted dipped 8 percent to 79.4 percent, its lowest level since 1984-85, when traffic was hit badly by a lengthy strike by coal miners.
But the future for rail freight lies clear, Freight on Rail manager Philippa Edmunds highlights that “Given these socio-economic benefits, the government must set affordable charges in its current ORR review and continue to upgrade the rail freight network to cater for the suppressed demand for consumer and bulk services.”
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