The annual movement of salt to make stockpiles for use in gritting the road network during the worst of the winter weather has received a sustainable boost.
Nationwide Gritting and Salt Supplies, Associated British Ports and DB Schenker Rail have successfully completed the first ever long distance movements of salt by rail from the Port of Southampton to Teeside.
Each train was loaded with 1,200 tonnes of salt at the new aggregate terminal at the Port of Southampton and then transported by rail to DB Schenker Rail’s depot at Thornaby in Teeside where it was unloaded and taken by road for local distribution.
The first trial train service left the Port of Southampton on Friday 16 September, with the second train departing on Wednesday 21 September.
Both services have been declared an outstanding success. Nationwide Gritting and Salt Supplies, Associated British Ports and DB Schenker Rail will now evaluate the full results of the trial with the expectation that regular services can be introduced, enabling modal shift from road to rail to occur.
Alain Thauvette, Chief Executive of DB Schenker Rail UK, said:
“With millions of tonnes of salt moved by road each year in preparation for the winter gritting season, this is a major new market for rail freight.
“Our partnership approach with Associated British Ports and Nationwide Gritting and Salt Supplies to try and develop a rail solution has worked. We are confident that regular services can be introduced, moving freight from the road network to the railway.”
Doug Morrison, ABP Port Director Southampton, said:
“Traditionally, the movement of salt has been by road to locations close to the port of discharge. These innovative rail movements undertaken by DB Schenker Rail and Nationwide Gritting and Salt Supplies now offer the market a sustainable alternative in moving this bulk cargo to more distant centres, complementing the natural maritime advantages of the Port of Southampton.”
Vijay Karia, Managing Director of Nationwide Gritting and Salt Supplies, said:
“There are two over-riding reasons why Nationwide Gritting and Salt Supplies has decided to pursue rail distribution as part of a multi-modal transport system: the clear environmental benefits of reducing the carbon footprint; and the prime importance of ensuring fast, reliable, and direct carriage of large quantities of marine salt to our customers.”