The Innovate UK-sponsored Liverpool-Humber Optimisation of Freight Transport (LHOFT) project features with partners Kraft Heinz, the University of Hull and Oxford Rail Strategies.
It seeks 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.
Emma Dempsey, Chief Commercial Officer for G&W’s UK/Europe Region companies, said: “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.
“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.”
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.”
Established in 2008, the University of Hull’s Logistics Institute is now a world-renowned centre for research, education and expertise in logistics and supply chain management.
The Institute is a leader in applied logistics research and industry outreach programmes, both national and international. Its key focus is to drive sustainable growth through viable logistics.
More information on the Logistics Institute.