Red, white and also green – these are the new colours for the 8.96m bottles of wine, which will be wheeled into Bristol by trains every year. This owes to a joint scheme by Network Rail and Freightliner, which has reinstated a short section of disused track near Bristol Temple Meads, enabling seven wine trains to terminate at South Liberty Lane depot every week.
This initiative supports Trans Ocean’s – a global leader in wine bulk liquid logistics – business in managing the movement of all wine imports into one of Europe’s largest wine facilities in Avonmouth, owned by Constellation Europe.
The new rail freight services will help remove over one million road miles of lorry journeys from already congested roads in the country, whilst significantly cutting carbon footprints. By using rail, Trans Ocean and Constellation Europe will also benefit from an efficient and streamlined supply chain with a low risk of demurrage costs.
Peter Willey, senior freight manager, Network Rail said: “Britain relies on rail and the value of rail freight is considerable. For businesses, rail freight can offer a cheaper, quicker and more practical alternative to moving goods by road.
“Almost £700m of social and environment benefits each year can be attributed to freight traffic on Britain’s railways. For instance, around 80,000 tonnes of waste from Bristol are removed by rail annually.
“Without the railway, the anticipated growth in freight traffic over the next 30 years would mean an extra 1.5m lorry journeys on Britain’s roads each year. Each freight train can take up to 60 lorries off the roads and by shifting traffic from already congested roads to rail will bring greater future benefits.”
Simon Williams, senior vice president supply chain, Constellation Wines Australia and Europe, says: “The new initiatives enable us to both streamline our supply chain operations and reduce carbon emissions. As such, we are extremely happy to endorse and implement the innovative initiatives that Trans Ocean will provide.”
Among the companies in Bristol relying on rail freight include the Bristol City Council, Whatley, Merehead and Bristol Port.
The old freight terminal in Bristol was closed in 1990, owing to lack of demand in freight. Work was carried out to renew the life-expired track and existing signalling equipment was tested and recycled for use.
Demand for rail freight has grown by 70% over the last decade across the country. This demand is predicted to grow by 30% over the next decade, and up to 140% over 30 years nationally.
Government figures show that in the next ten years rail freight could deliver environmental benefits worth well over £4 billion. The rail freight industry directly contributes £870 million to the nation’s economy every year, but actually supports an economic output of £5.9 billion, six times its direct turnover.