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Home Freight “Inspirational” Solent Stevedores wins Rail Freight Group’s Business of the Year award

“Inspirational” Solent Stevedores wins Rail Freight Group’s Business of the Year award

Solent Stevedores has been named Business of the Year at the annual Rail Freight Group (RFG) Awards, held last week at Shendish Manor Hotel, Apsley.

The RFG Awards recognise the hard work and achievements of companies, teams and individuals working right across the UK’s rail freight sector.

The judges were impressed by the company’s commitment to its long-term investments and entrepreneurial spirit and commended Solent Stevedores for the risks it had taken to steer the drive for rail freight growth at the Port of Southampton, attracting new services and leading a significant shift from road to rail at the port.


They said: “The company’s £17.5m investment in a revamped rail terminal has involved lengthening and redesigning track and developing 12 acres of laden container storage space. This is the third major investment in the terminal in the last ten years and it has already increased daily capacity from five to eight rail freight services. This is now set to rise to 12 a day by the end of the year.”

The judges added that Solent Stevedores has been inspirational in Southampton’s ongoing success story. The development of the new rail terminal involved significant construction works and realignment and extension of track, all carried out while ensuring continuity of the expanding number of rail services its investment was generating.

“Working in partnership with ABP at Southampton, Solent Stevedores has been a model for driving rail freight growth,” they added.

On the night, Solent Stevedores also won RFG’s ‘Driving Rail Freight Growth award.

Maggie Simpson OBE, Director General, Rail Freight Group, said: “The rail freight sector needs companies like Solent Stevedoes, active and innovative players that are prepared to continually invest in making modal shift a reality. We all know that the UK needs to move more goods away from our congested road network and onto the railway and Solent Stevedores is one company acting to make the future of sustainable transport happen.

“A huge thank you to all of our winners and runners-up. Thank you to everyone who attended our dinner itself and helped make it another fantastic success.”

The awards dinner was sponsored by RFG members Burges Salmon and GB Railfreight and as always was hosted by Simon Coppen (from Burges Salmon) and John Smith, CEO of GB Railfreight (GBRf).

Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), was awarded the Innovation and Talent category at this year’s awards. This is in recognition for the implementation of an industry leading Terminal Gate Automation and Vehicle Booking System which recently went live, nationally, across all Freightliner and Pentalver terminals.

Freightliner operates seven inland rail terminals across the UK and four terminals through its sister brand Pentalver. Each year these terminals handle between 250,000 and 300,000 road vehicles which collect and deliver containers arriving and departing on trains.

To support the modal shift, Freightliner recognised the need for efficiency across all operational elements of the journey – which initiated the implementation of a national Terminal Gate Automation and Vehicle Booking System.

This project has allowed Freightliner to improve terminal infrastructure, creating the opportunity to run more trains, transport more containers and allow for more vehicles to be handled every day.

Both external and internal benefits have been realised from this project, including carbon and financial savings. Terminal turnaround times have been reduced by as much as 50%, which has reduced the idling time, fuel usage and labour time of a haulier visiting a Freightliner or Pentalver terminal. These reductions have in turn improved the user experience, increasing operational efficiency, cost, and carbon savings throughout the user journey.

Freightliner, together with Tarmac, Fox Group and Network Rail, were also runners up in the Rail Freight Project of the Year category.

Working together with Tarmac, Fox Group and Network Rail the Leyland Rail Freight terminal was reopened and rail logistics were mobilised within 4 weeks. The Leyland Sidings had been lying dormant for nearly 20 years, but through quick actions and teamwork, the first commercial freight service to serve the terminal for two decades, was operated, which will now be used to receive aggregate traffic from the Peak District.

This project is particularly important for the future of rail freight, as it demonstrates the flexibility and power that rail can deliver, including at urban terminals, showcasing the possibilities and decarbonisation benefits of rail against other modes of transport.

Tim Shoveller, G&W UK/Europe CEO said: “We are very proud of these accolades and could not have achieved this without the hard work and dedication of all the people involved, including our staff and our key partner’s teams.

We pride ourselves on our customer relationships and driving forward innovative solutions for the benefit of our customers and our environment. We look forward to continuing to deliver an unrivalled service to our customers which extends our industry leadership in safety, reliability, and sustainability.”

On the night, other award winners were:

Driving Rail Freight Growth
Winner: Solent Stevedores
Runner Up: Porterbrook, Greenbrier and GB Railfreight

Sustainability & Safety
Winner: GB Railfreight
Runner Up: Knorr-Bremse

Innovation & Talent
Winner: Freightliner
Runner Up: Eco2Loco

Railfreight Project of the Year
Winner: Fishbone and Partners
Runner Up: Fox Group, Tarmac and Freightliner

Outstanding Individual Contribution
Winner: Paul Lugg, VTG Rail

Young Rail Freight Professional
Winner: Izzy Glancey, Victa Railfreight
Runner Up: Molly Cooke, DRS
Runner Up: Connor Murrells, GBRTT

Photo credit: Rail Freight Group

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