Leading freight forwarding companies have gathered in the West of Scotland to show off their latest zero-emission motive power. They have joined forces to celebrate the launch of a government-backed initiative to promote market-ready projects that will help Scotland transition to a net zero economy by 2045. The Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Fiona Hyslop launched the project at Mossend International Railfreight Park, one of ten projects with the envelope of over £ 1 billion (€ 1.1 billion).
As a sign of commitment, the UK’s four largest freight operators held an electric and hybrid traction demonstration at Bellshill in Lanarkshire, Scotland. The site is currently the head end of the family-owned integrated logistics operation PD Stirling, and is growing rapidly to become Mossend International Railfreight Park. The new electrified terminal is the most prominent project among the initial tranche of ten projects supported by the Scottish Government’s Green Investment Portfolio.
Rail freight investment opportunities
When launching the portfolio at Mossend MIRP, Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Government Cabinet Member and Secretary of the Economy, said there was a huge global green finance bankroll looking for investment opportunities. Projects like Mossend prove that the environmentally friendly rail freight sector is at the top of the list for attracting new capital. “We know that investors need credible projects that reduce emissions to match their own green ambitions,” she told the rail freight industry guest audience. “By evaluating these projects before they go to market, the Green Investment Portfolio gives global investors the confidence they need to support projects in Scotland.
The cabinet secretary received a personal tour of the facilities by Andrew and David Stirling, representing the owners of the family. The centerpiece of the tour was the unique range of traction from GB Railfreight, Direct Rail Services, DB Cargo UK and Freightliner, the largest general freight operators in the UK. All four had provided examples of their electric driving force, with the DRS showcasing its latest hybrid traction.
Improved facilities for national and international trade
Expansion plans, to realize the potential of Mossend International Railfreight Park, include eight new sidings, directly connected to the electrified main line on the west coast. These routes will be able to handle a daily schedule of 16 trains, all up to the maximum UK allowable length of 775 meters.
The plans also include rail support and maintenance services, as well as the extensive facilities for PD Stirling’s logistics operation. The terminal will be international trade compliant, capable of handling most cargoes, including certification for dangerous goods. The 5,000 TEU storage capacity will be served by electric handling vehicles, further improving the installation’s environmental benchmarks.
Zero emissions and zero disturbance
After giving a tour of the facilities to the Cabinet Secretary, David Stirling, Director of PD Stirling, explained how the developing rail freight fleet in Mossend would not only be Scotland’s first high value-added dry port, but also address rail freight operations in a low carbon economy. of the near future. “We fully support the Scottish Government’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2045 and we are indeed contributing to this by providing Scotland’s largest zero-carbon multimodal rail freight fleet,” he said.
Relocating the terminal’s current gateway out of the local community and onto a new road, connecting directly to the motorway network, goes more than just improving the lives of neighbors. It also promotes modal shift, which David Stirling says moves the facility and the industry in the right direction. “With future plans, including Scotland’s first 775 meter electric rail terminal, we hope to benefit many local businesses as well as those based across Europe and beyond,” he said. declared. “The Green Investment Portfolio is a valuable tool in helping us reach global investors. “
Wider economic benefits
Currently, Mossend receives around eight trains a day, but with the International Railfreight Park online it is possible that this will double. In addition to connections to many UK ports, the operators aim to be an export hub, carrying trains through the Channel Tunnel.
With the unique Scottish product portfolio at hand, this export aspect of the project struck a chord with Secretary of the Economy Hyslop and helped underline the greater impact of rail freight on the country in its together. “By working in partnership with businesses, we are committed to ensuring that economic growth promotes happiness and improves opportunities, life chances and the well-being of every citizen of our country,” she said. concluded.
Main Image: The future of rail freight traction is electric. Single line at Mossend International Railfreight Park. Foreground: GB Railfreight, Direct Rail Services, DB Cargo UK and Freightliner locomotives, captured by Stuart Cameron of StuMedia.co.uk