Feature, Freight News, Rail, Sea

XPO launches Waterford-Ballina rail route

[ May 18, 2021   //   ]

Irish Rail, XPO Logistics and Port of Waterford are to launch a new intermodal service between Ballina, Co. Mayo and Waterford Belview in June – only the second such train in the whole of the country. It will operate twice-weekly in both directions.

The only other container rail service in Ireland is operated by IWT between Dublin and Ballina.

Using rail could transfer up to 5,000 truck movements each year from road to rail, with a resulting reduction in road congestion and around a 75% reduction in emissions per unit. XPO Logistics managing director transport – UK and Ireland Dan Myers said: “We take environmental protection seriously at XPO. Our goal is always to manage supply chain activities as efficiently as possible whilst helping our customers lower their carbon footprint.”

Irish transport minister, Eamon Ryan is keen to transfer freight from road to greener modes and said: “Rail and other sustainable solutions will play an important role on our journey to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This new freight service offers a climate friendly option connecting enterprises from the West to the Southeast of the country and onwards to export markets and we look forward to growing our rail freight operations soon.”

Waterford chief executiveFrank Ronan added: “Port of Waterford welcomes the re-introduction of rail freight services to the Port at Belview. These trains, carrying container freight, will 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.” Since Brexit use of direct services between Ireland and mainland Europe has surged so as to avoid using the UK ‘land bridge’.

Irish Rail is currently finalising a strategic plan for the growth of rail freight between key locations across the country. Chief executive Jim Meade said the announcement not only 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.” The rail company is planning to support and deliver freight growth plans by procurement of a new fleet of freight wagons.