DB Schenker Rail UK has become the first rail freight company to operate an intermodal service out of London Gateway, Britain’s newest deep sea Port and Logistic Park.
The first train out of London Gateway left the port at 02:00 Tuesday 24th September, fully laden with containers bound for DB Schenker Rail’s Trafford Park terminal. The containers had been discharged earlier this week from the fire-damaged cargo ship ZIM Rotterdam.
The 10,000 TEU ship was diverted to London Gateway from Felixstowe at short notice on Friday 13th September to undergo essential maintenance and is the largest ever cargo vessel to enter the Thames Estuary.
This is the first commercial cargo to be unloaded at the new state-of-the-art deep sea port ahead of the official opening later this year, and DB Schenker Rail UK worked tirelessly around the clock with its counterparts at DP World London Gateway to put an operational plan in place for transportation of the discharged cargo by rail.
Carsten Hinne, managing director, logistics for DB Schenker Rail UK, said: “This has been an incredible effort and demonstrates how the team, and indeed the industry, has come together to help support ZIM and its customers. I haven’t seen collective support from the industry like this in any way before, and it’s amazing to think we have put a service together in just a few days - let alone from a non-operational port.
“We realised that a solution was needed quickly and viewed this as an opportunity to help ZIM, the London Gateway team and the cargo owners in providing a service from the port.”
Charles Meaby, commercial director for DP World London Gateway, added: “We have worked quickly with DB Schenker Rail UK to ensure we can move boxes out of the port as fast as we can. We want to reassure cargo owners and forwarders that we are working around the clock to make sure boxes are despatched as soon as possible. This shipping line call was made under very unusual circumstances to ensure safety guidelines were met as soon as possible.”
The news follows the announcement by DB Schenker Rail UK confirming the operation of regular services to Trafford Park and Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal from London Gateway when the port opens in November. DB Schenker Rail UK is the first rail freight operator in the UK to commit to services to and from London Gateway.
As well as being able to offer cost-effective door-to-door services to the UK’s main hinterland destinations, DB Schenker Rail UK is also pursuing the development of rail freight services from London Gateway to mainland Europe via the Channel Tunnel.
Hinne added: “DB Schenker Rail UK has been working closely with DP World for a number of years to ensure this exciting venture is a success for both our companies and their respective customers.
“We are very excited by this development and are confident that this will be the first of many services out of the new port. DB Schenker Rail UK is investing heavily in intermodal services, from London Gateway as well as from other ports, and we intend to offer innovative supply chain solutions with increased reliability, better quality and higher capacity than our competitors.”