Today GB Railfreight (GBRf) celebrates its longstanding partnership with the Port of Felixstowe, marking 20 years since GBRf and the port first collaborated on an inaugural Intermodal service to transport goods across the UK for MSC.
The growth in the partnership and the port itself has been exponential over the past 20 years. Since the first service, GBRf has gone on to operate 50 daily services nationwide, of which 14 are for MSC. The port has expanded from 28 to 76 daily trains over the 20 years, with 30 of these belonging to GBRf, resulting in 166 GBRf trains running to and from Felixstowe each week.
With the launch of three new GBRf services out of Felixstowe over the last 12 months, the partnership between GB Railfreight and the Port of Felixstowe has grown year on year.
With the port’s expansion, GBRf serves more customers than ever before, transporting 245,240 containers in and out of the port in 2021, and 62,441 containers in the first quarter of 2022 alone – utilising Felixstowe’s reputation as the largest deep sea port in order to deliver better and more efficient services for its customers. Additionally, GB Railfreight has been servicing seven of the inland terminals since 2002, further bolstering the port’s ability to fortify the UK’s supply chains and help grow the economy.
In the years ahead Felixstowe is expected to expand further, creating 90 daily rail freight services from the port. GBRf has already launched three new services – iPort, Tinsley and Birch Coppice – in the past 12 months. GBRf currently employs c.100 members of staff at the port, from which they run a seven-day-a-week service and intend to increase the number of staff and services to meet customer demand.
The effectiveness of the relationship has been particularly on show over the past two years. GBRf is proud of the part it played in working with the Port of Felixstowe to keep the UK’s economy moving during the pandemic and supplying vital PPE at the height of the first lockdown in 2020. More recently, from the HGV driver shortages, Brexit impacts and the pressure of Christmas supply chains, the collaboration ensured goods kept on flowing to consumers and businesses without any significant disruption.
John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight, said: “Without our 20-year partnership we would not have been able to support the UK economy in the way that we did. Felixstowe has been crucial to the success of GBRf and the wider rail freight sector, enabling us to deliver more services, in a more efficient way, to customers. In the next 20 years our partnership will be multi-faceted, as we work together to make the UK’s supply chains even more resilient, efficient, and importantly, sustainable too”.
Clemence Cheng, CEO, Port of Felixstowe, said: “GB Railfreight are a key partner helping to ensure that we are able to offer shippers a range of frequent, efficient and sustainable distribution options from the Port of Felixstowe. We have worked closely with them as their operation has grown over the last 20 years and look forward to continuing the relationship long into the future.”