'cool supply chain the ultimate aim'

Cool Rail launches new refrigerated rail service in Europe

Cool Rail launches new refrigerated rail service in Europe

Cool Rail has launched a new refrigerated rail service between Valencia and Cologne for fresh produce shippers, according to Coolstar.

Cool Rail operates twice-weekly reefer services: the service takes three days which is one more than by road, but each container travels 83% fewer truck-km – resulting in a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Cool Rail uses diesel-electric reefer containers from Rotterdam-based manufacturer Unit45. The containers are equipped with a track and trace GPS system with real-time location and temperature information.

Colruyt Group, which operates supermarkets in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, is using Cool Rail to import Spanish citrus and vegetables.

Once in Cologne, the containers are transported to a distribution centre in the Belgian city of Halle, before returning with freshly washed Euro Pool System (EPS) folding crates for the return trip to Valencia.

Wim Verghote, Colruyt’s import project leader, told The Coolstar that the main objective for Colruyt was reducing its carbon footprint.

“There was a big advantage as the Cool Rail containers never travel empty – EPS crates go southbound while oranges, broccoli and lettuces go northbound.

“On top of that, we are convinced that reducing our environmental impact and obtaining cost efficiencies can be complementary,” he explained.

Developed by a cross-border group of shippers, retailers and forwarders, Cool Rail was initiated by Dutch fruit and vegetable wholesaler Bakker Barendrecht, reusable packaging specialists EPS, and the port of Rotterdam – where the service will be extended next year, with a view to running five times a week.