Last May the first railway connection for transporting fruit and vegetables from southern to northern Europe was launched
The train in question has reefer wagons for transporting fresh fruit and vegetables three times a week from Valencia to Rotterdam. The project is an initiative by Euro Pool System, a supplier of logistics services and reusable packaging for agrifood distribution, working alongside the railway operator, Shuttelwise. Different retailers and companies for the fruit and vegetable logistics area have also collaborated in the commissioning of this project.
Producers and marketers from the fruit and vegetable sector, purchasing centres and logistics operators all attended the presentation of CoolRail in Valencia, along with executives from RENFE, ADIF, FERRMED and Corredor Mediterráneo. The manager of Euro Pool System for Southern Europe, Bartolomé Saro, emphasised that “this project is framed within a global change in mobility trends. The idea is to look for more sustainable transport methods which, in this case, help to promote Spanish exports to northern Europe in a more efficient way and at the same time, that are environmentally-friendly.”
In fact, the main advantage of this train, which makes the journey from Valencia to Rotterdam in 48 hours, the same time it takes for a lorry to travel the distance, is its reduced environmental impact. Therefore, CoolRail will mean a reduction of 12,096 trailer transports per year and a saving of 22 million kilometres. This means cutting back 15,000 tonnes of annual CO2 emissions or, in other words, between 70% and 90% with respect to road transport.
CoolRail started operating on the 6th of May with its first journey between Silla (Valencia) and Rotterdam. Each train will be loaded with 42 containers, there and back, 3 times a week, for 48 weeks a year. The temperature of each reefer container is regulated in terms of the specific produce it transports. On the outward journey, from Valencia to Rotterdam, the train is loaded with fresh produce; on the return journey, the reusable packaging used for the distribution of this type of food is returned, folded up, in order to make the transport more efficient.
This first Valencia-Rotterdam connection aspires to be just the start of a much more extensive network. In the future, the idea is to continue implanting CoolRail railway connections to other priority destinations for Spanish exports, such as Germany, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.
In 2018, according to data from FEPEX, Spanish fresh fruit and vegetable exports reached 12,832 million euros. Exports to the European Union represented 94% of the total, with Germany, France and the United Kingdom (in this order) as the main destinations. By Autonomous Regions, Andalusia and the Community of Valencia are the main fruit and vegetable exporters.
To start up CoolRail, Euro Pool System has worked alongside the following partners: Shuttlewise, Bakker Barendrecht/Albert Heijn, Visbeen, Kloosterboer, DailyFresh, EasyFresh, Primaflor, Bollo, Agroiris, Fruveg, TobSine, Pozo Sur and Samskip.