Feature, Freight News, Rail, Sea

Waterford wins rail link to the West

[ October 4, 2021   //   ]

Irish rail operator Iarnród Eireann and XPO Logistics have launched a new rail container service between the port of Waterford and Ballina, Co Mayo in the west of Ireland.

It will initially operate weekly but will build up to twice-weekly within eight weeks, said the port. The two-service creates the potential for over 5,000 truck movements a year to switch from road to rail, cutting carbon emissions by 75% per unit moved.

The new service comes as Iarnród Éireann is finalising a new national rail freight strategy to identify growth and investment opportunities to significantly grow its freight operations. It is working with existing and potential new customers and Freight forwarders, ports and the Irish Exporters Association to identify opportunities for rail freight development within the Irish and European market.

Iarnród Éireann chief executive Jim Meade said, “We are entering a very exciting phase where rail freight can offer key solutions for the movement of freight as the country addresses both environmental and congestion challenges in this sector. We are currently finalising a very ambitious strategic plan for the growth of rail freight between key locations across the country. Today’s announcement with XPO and Waterford Port demonstrates the viable opportunities that can be developed that will not just support industry and the logistics sector, but is also fully aligned with the country’s climate action plan.”

XPO Logistics managing director for UK and Ireland, Dan Myers, added: “Climate change is a critical global challenge; the solutions will take a concerted effort, coordinated action and cooperation. Our collaborative, end-to-end service with Irish Rail — where XPO provides the booking of rail freight movements, drayage trucking of containers, and services such as cross-docking — is a double win. Our customers have new, eco-friendly transport options, and our planet wins as supply chains become greener. It’s another step in our collective journey to a carbon-neutral future.”

Port of Waterford chief executive Frank Ronan said the new container trains “would work very effectively with the port’s lo-lo shipping services to provide businesses in Ireland’s West/North West with a compelling logistics solution to and from mainland Europe. The excellent carbon emissions reductions we will achieve on this freight plus the alleviation of road and port congestion in Dublin make this a very worthwhile initiative.”