Earlier in August, Danny Douglas from Norwich City Transport made a visit to Johnston Logistics UK at Snetterton to look at one of the few privately owned commercial railway lines in the country.
Britain’s rail freight industry generates more than £1.5bn a year in economic benefits for UK companies, with over 110 million tonnes carried in 2015. Not only this, but it’s a much more environmentally sustainable option, with each tonne of freight transported by rail generating 76% less CO2 than road. Comparatively, a gallon of fuel can move a tonne of goods 246 miles on rail but only 88 miles by road. A typical freight train is capable of carrying the equivalent of 60 lorry loads.
Johnston Logistics UK can offer customers an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by using their privately owned rail line. The rail siding runs off the Cambridge-Norwich mainline at nearby Eccles Road. Not only is this a great facility for customers looking to reduce their carbon footprint it also takes advantage of their location close to the geographical centre of East Anglia.
Rob McIndoe, Finance Director at Johnstons Logistics UK explained “The siding was developed in 1985, well ahead of the current focus on multi-modal deliveries. Originally it facilitated the import and export of grain to Europe but is now being used by customers of our warehousing facilities from seed potatoes from Scotland or aggregates from Yorkshire. The facility is very flexible with regards to the types of businesses that could make use of the railhead and a wide range of companies could benefit from using the railhead.”
Johnston Logistics UK were recently visited by Danny Douglas, from Norwich City Transport looking at the viability of using the railhead for a regular consolidated container train from Ham Halls/DRIFT.
Mr Douglas commented “Looking around the facilities at Johnston Logistics UK I can see how it is the natural railhead for distributing the goods around the growing economies of Norfolk and Suffolk.”
He went on to add “Rail is playing an increasing role in the distribution business and local authorities should consider how they can assist the development through land planning and connected rail sites”.
When asked whether he thought rail should play a larger part in future freight transport / environmental plans he answered “Yes rail freight is the popular and effective solution to road congestion on our motorway and trunk road network. At Norwich City Transport our goal is lower the distance that rail freight becomes the economically effective solution to the distribution challenge”.
Local company, Frimstone uses the siding at Snetterton to import stone aggregates into the region where they supply them to trade and domestic customers. Rob said “Each train carries up to 1,200 tonnes of aggregate for Frimstone. Compare this to an eight wheeler lorry which can only carry 20 tonnes. By using our rail line, Frimstone are saving money, keeping lorries off the road and reducing their carbon footprint”
He went on “We can also adapt the railhead to suit any customer’s requirements. For example, when Frimstone first enquired to use the railhead, they required a stock holding area of 4,500 tonnes, which at the time wasn’t available. We were able to open up the area next to the railhead to enable sufficient stock in. At the moment there is a stock holding of 5,500 tonnes currently being stored in the stock holding area.