Major investment will see Port of Grangemouth handle longest trains in Britain as no-deal Brexit looms
The Port of Grangemouth is investing £3 million to create a facility capable of handling the longest freight trains in the UK.
Bosses said the investment would cement the port’s position as the key strategic freight and export/import hub for Scotland. It comes as the possibility of a no-deal Brexit looms.
The expansion move will scale up and modernise the port’s current rail capacity to create an extended dual rail siding of 775 metres – currently 200 metres – capable of handling the longest freight trains on the UK network.
It will provide enhanced options particularly for customers in the food, drink and perishables sectors across the Scottish freight community, bosses added.
With container ship calls into the port each week from mainland Europe and the south east of England, the increased rail capacity will help to take trucks off congested roads and lower customers’ carbon footprints.
The port is owned by Edinburgh-based Forth Ports, which runs eight commercial ports in the UK – Tilbury on the Thames, Dundee on the Firth of Tay and six on the Firth of Forth – Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy.
Derek Knox, senior port manager at the Port of Grangemouth, said: “Over the past five years, we have invested over £30m in the Port of Grangemouth to offer our customers first class service and connectivity for their businesses.
“We now look to extend this further and the investment in our rail terminal is part of our strategy to provide more resilient, cost effective, greener and efficient options for rail freight transportation to our existing and future customers.
“The unique advantage of the Grangemouth rail freight terminal is that it is directly linked to Scotland’s largest container port. This enables customers to easily connect to established short and deep-sea shipping connections to European and international markets.
“Additionally, excellent road connectivity to the Port and our central location provides an attractive opportunity for domestic freight flows within the UK.”
He added: “As the UK prepares to leave the EU single market and the customs union, the freight sector is looking at ways to maintain an efficient free flowing supply chain.
“With the new rail offering combined with our established port operations and streamlined customs processes, the freight hub we are creating provides a unique solution.
“We have recently appointed a rail freight expert, Ian Wilson, to support our rail growth strategy and, coupled with our established rail links with our sister port in Tilbury, we are confident that rail customers will benefit significantly from both freight hubs.”
Existing services link Grangemouth and its sister port in Tilbury on the Thames with a connection through Daventry.
Construction of the new rail extension will start this month and is expected to welcome its first train in January building on current rail volumes at the port.
The Port of Grangemouth operates Scotland’s largest container port and handles in excess of 155,000 containers per annum. More than £6 billion worth of goods passes through the facility each year including steel plate, timber, paper and equipment for the oil and gas industry.