Freightliner trials potential modal shift to rail for Kraft Heinz products

Freightliner loco transporting goods during darkness.

The Innovate UK sponsored Liverpool-Humber Optimisation of Freight Transport (LHOFT) project has been working with partners Kraft Heinz, the University of Hull and Oxford Rail Strategies, to develop an intermodal rail freight solution for the haulage of products from Elst (in the Netherlands) to the Kraft Heinz National Distribution Centre at Wigan.

Following consultation with leading UK rail freight operator Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc.(G&W) and Network Rail, a trial train was arranged to test and evaluate the feasibility of delivering Kraft Heinz products by rail to Wigan.

Operating overnight, the trial was considered a complete success and Kraft Heinz will now be considering whether to build on the findings of the trial going forward.

  “Freightliner is always at the forefront of developing innovative, bespoke solutions to allow more freight to be moved by rail and all the associated environmental benefits that brings,” said Emma Dempsey, Chief Commercial Officer for G&W’s UK/Europe Region companies.”

“As the largest operator of carbon neutral traction, we are continually developing solutions to deliver decarbonisation targets, working in collaboration with business partners and customers, and we were delighted to be part of the team to trial this potential modal shift to rail”.

Director of the University of Hull’s Logistics Institute, Amar Ramudhin, said: “The University of Hull is at the forefront of accelerating a net zero future.  The collaborative transport modelling and optimisation platform developed by the University’s Logistics Institute is based on academic insight and has played a key role in the LHOFT project, enriching the analysis that is used to visualise, interpret and compare freight movement options. This allows objective evaluation of the freight movement options. For example the Wigan rail route opens up new opportunities for goods owners and service providers to collaborate to develop new, lower carbon transport routes.”

The LHOFT project uniquely brings together key stakeholders in the unitised freight industries with the aim of establishing an East-West freight transport corridor in the north of the UK. This corridor will link Liverpool in the West to the Humber port complex in the East.  The ambition is to reduce UK land transport of 100 million miles of freight transport annually, thus lowering congestion and Co2 emissions.  Karla Jakeman Innovation Lead Connected Transport at Innovate UK said “This is a very positive development of the project. It is always exciting when projects can demonstrate innovation in practice. I am looking forward to watching how this develops in the future.”