Published: 23rd April 2014
Freight transport using rail has grown exponentially in the last 15 years and this growth shows no signs of abating. So what is carried? Container traffic from ports such as Southampton, Felixstowe have long been established while new ones such as DP London Gateway are attracting ever more traffic.
These coastal container terminals are being used by ever larger ships and these require deeper and longer berths to remain competitive with mainland European ports such as Rotterdam or Hamburg. But they also demand better onward rail connections from ports to deliver the goods with just one train carrying up to 70 containers in one go, reducing road congestion and pollution.
Most people will have been delayed by lorries on roads while driving and the chances are, that rail passengers will have heard an announcement saying that their journey has been delayed by a freight train. So what does the freight transport industry do and who are literally, the movers and shakers in it? Multimodal 2014 is the exhibition that explains all!
There is just one chance every year to talk to the train operators and port operators as well as connecting logistics operators such as Malcom. This is at the annual Multimodal event at the National Exhibition Centre adjacent to Birmingham International between April 29 and May 1. This year is the 7th such show which has now established itself as the railfreight industry public showcase.
This year’s event will have a royal visitor, on April 30 when HRH The Princess Royal will take part in a seminar panel for charity Transaid, and take a look at the event. This is just one seminar of the 20 to be held at the event raging from customs, click and collect, and reverse logistics, safer container transport, supply chain management and "The Agenda for More – getting freight on track".
Freight operators DB Schenker, Direct Rail Services and Freightliner have stands while the Railfreight Group, Malcolm Logistics, John G Russell, FreightArranger and Network Rail will also be exhibiting.
Halls 6, 7 & 8, NEC Birmingham
Tuesday 29th April, 10.00 – 18.00
Wednesday 30th April, 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday 1st May, 10.00 – 15.00
There are two discussions concerning rail and these are both on 30 April.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA). 11.45 – 12.45 The Agenda for More – getting freight on track
So if you are into transport logistics, Multimodal will answer most questions you may have!
The rail network has had to be expanded to enable longer and more freight trains to operate and to an extent, this is driving the electrification project from Southampton to Basingstoke, Reading, Oxford and Milton Keynes due for completion in the next five years.
The expansion also looks as though it will help drive the case for High Speed 2 (HS2) as this will free up train paths on the heavily used West Coast Main Line (WCML) which has inland ports along its length. Trains link these ports such as at Daventry, Hams Hall, Trafford and Cumbernauld.
The east coast port of Felixstowe has also been expanded and the railway between Ipswich and the port was running at capacity. Container trains had to run along the branch to Ipswich where the locomotive(s) had to change ends before heading west towards Peterborough and Nuneaton to connect into the main north-south routes.
The new just over a mile long track now avoids the reversal at Ipswich saving time and resources and the connecting line was named after a local bacon factory!
Southampton Docks, built by the Southern Railway, is now a major container port and operated by Dubai Ports (DP) and has just announced that it can offer deeper and longer berths for container ships. The south coast port now offers 1.87km of deepwater quay which can accommodate ships requiring a water depth of up to 16 metres. Individual berths for ships over 400 metres in length and 16 quayside gantry cranes with super post panamax capacity. These are supported by a fleet of flexible straddle carriers.
The line from Southampton has been upgraded with a larger loading to enable larger containers to be carried by rail and onto the major routes running via Reading and Oxford to the north.