Port of Grangemouth to handle longest trains in Britain after major rail hub investment

The Port of Grangemouth on the River Forth has opened a multi-million-pound rail freight hub after welcoming its first freight train service.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 12:30 pm

The new facility at Scotland’s largest port marks an investment of £3 million and will provide a direct link to its busy container terminal.

A dual rail siding extends to some 775 metres allowing it to handle the longest freight trains on the UK network. It is seen as being of particular benefit for customers in the food, drink and perishables sectors across the Scottish freight community.

Derek Knox, senior port manager, said: “The opening of our new freight rail hub comes at an important time for the freight market as businesses are seeking flexible, resilient, and greener supply chain solutions.

The expansion move scales up and modernises the Port of Grangemouth's rail capacity to create an extended dual rail siding of 775 metres – up from 200 metres – capable of handling the longest freight trains on the UK network. Picture: Peter Devlin

“At the Port of Grangemouth we have the unrivalled position of being truly interconnected for sea to rail and rail to sea, with the added flexibility of direct road access into central Scotland and beyond.

He added: “We have invested over £30m in infrastructure and equipment over the past five years at the port and this new rail offering combined with our established port operations and streamlined customs processes creates a unique solution for our existing and future customers.”

Grangemouth is operated by Edinburgh-headquartered Forth Ports, which owns and operates 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.

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 port each year including steel plate, timber, paper and equipment for the oil and gas industry.

Chris Connelly, deputy chief executive and rail director of NTS, which operates Direct Rail Services, said: “This is fantastic news and this investment demonstrates the vital role rail freight plays in our economy and its importance in ensuring goods reach supermarkets quickly and reliably.

“Rail freight reduces carbon emissions by 76 per cent compared to road and this new siding will allow even longer, heavier trains, further increasing their environmental credentials and meaning fewer lorries on our roads.”

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