New rail product from Spain to UK aims to ease supply chain bottlenecks for temperature sensitive cargo like fruits and vegetables

Maersk subsidiary Sealand is launching a new rail product from Spain to UK designed for temperature sensitive cargo like fruits and vegetables.

Maersk container rail Adobe

The new transport option is tailored for Spanish fresh produce, has flexible capacity and will initially have three weekly departures from Valencia terminal to Barking terminal in East London.

The trains will carry also non-refrigerated cargo on their southbound journey from UK back to Spain, Maersk outlined.

The group carried out trials in September with “positive customer feedback”, and regular departures will start end of October, just in time for the Spanish peak season for fruit and vegetable exports.

Over 90 per cent of these exports are going north, resulting in up to 1,400 trucks daily crossing the northern Spanish border towards the main markets in UK, France, Benelux, Germany and Scandinavia.

”Our new product solves several challenges that our reefer customers in Spain are faced with when exporting,” said Diego Perdones Montero, area managing director France, Iberia and Maghreb.

”Firstly, many large retailers want to reduce the carbon footprint of the products they sell,” he explained. ”Secondly, we have a prevailing shortage of truck drivers, which means that currently cross-border road transport is often limited and unreliable. Thirdly, capacity and quality of the major roads are limited which leads to congestion.

”Our rail transport makes Spanish exporters independent from the driver shortage as well as road bottlenecks, and offers more than 90 er cent lower CO2 emissions than a truck on the road,” Montero noted.

More destinations could follow, he said, including integrated ocean and rail solutions.

“Big customers – importers, growers and retailers alike – are operating with both, ocean and land-based cargo flows,” he added. “By offering them our reliable landside distribution network via rail we will help to create faster, greener and more efficient routes regardless of the origin and destination of the sensitive cargo.”

Maersk stated that it was simplifying and optimising its customers’ supply chains with a comprehensive offer of additional logistics services.

These range from customs brokerage or cold storage to Captain Peter, a technology ensuring full data transparency about the condition of the cargo inside a reefer container along its whole journey.