Forth Ports confirmed on Tuesday that — in partnership with Direct Rail Services (DRS) and Eddie Stobart — the freight rail service which provides a weekend link between the Port of Tilbury and the Port of Grangemouth is to be made permanent.
Following a successful trial, the new regular two-way rail link will serve Forth Ports’ customers in the South of England and Central Scotland from Friday August 9.
The service, which uses DRS’s state-of-the-art locomotives and wagon fleet, has the capacity to travel with 36 containers and will be managed by Eddie Stobart.
The containers travelling from Tilbury will carry cargo including retail goods, food and drink while the return journey will support Scotland’s export market with the movement of spirits, chemicals and fresh food.
The first train will leave Tilbury on Friday evening, via Dagenham, travelling overnight to arrive at Grangemouth on Saturday morning.
Forth Ports manages eight ports around the UK including Tilbury, Leith, Rosyth, Grangemouth and Dundee. Its primary shareholder is Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers.
Rob Mason, senior commercial manager at Forth Ports, said: “The response from customers to our two-way rail service between the Ports of Tilbury and Grangemouth has been so encouraging that it means we can now operate the service regularly every weekend starting this Friday.
“Business at our busy container terminals is growing rapidly and it has become hugely important that we were able to connect these two ports by rail.
“This new service highlights our commitment to providing sustainable and cost-effective logistics solutions for our customers, helping them to grow and increasing their competitiveness in the supply chain.
“We look forward to partnering with Eddie Stobart and DRS on what is the first regular rail service linking our ports in Tilbury and Grangemouth and opening up a number of import and export opportunities for our business and customers.”
John Clark, sector director at Eddie Stobart, said: “Following on from a successful trial in June, the service will start this week allowing the South of England to be connected by rail into Grangemouth at the weekend when road driving resource is at a premium.
“Working in partnership with Forth Ports and Direct Rail Services we are extremely confident that this service will prove to be a real benefit for logistics companies at both ends of the country.”