Maersk's subsidiary specialised on Intra-European logistics, Sealand will launch a new rail product from Spain to the United Kingdom, designed for temperature-sensitive cargo like fruits and vegetables.

The new service will initially have three weekly departures from Valencia terminal to Barking terminal in East London. The trains will not carry only reefers, but will also transport non-refrigerated cargo on their southbound journey from the UK back to Spain.

After successful trials in September, the regular departures will start end of October, just in time for the Spanish peak season for fruit and vegetable exports, according to Maersk, which said that "over 90% of these exports are going North resulting in up to 1,400 trucks daily crossing the northern Spanish border towards the main markets in UK, France, Benelux, Germany and Scandinavia."

Diego Perdones Montero, Maersk's area managing director for France, Iberia and Maghreb, believes the new product will solve several challenges of the company's reefer customers in Spain.

The challenges according to Montero are that many large retailers want to reduce the carbon footprint of the products they sell, a shortage of truck drivers, which means that currently cross-border road transport is often limited and unreliable, and the fact that capacity and quality of the major roads are limited which leads to congestion.

"Our rail transport makes Spanish exporters independent from the driver shortage as well as road bottlenecks, and offers more than 90% lower CO2 emissions than a truck on the road," he pointed out.

More destinations could follow, according to Montero, including integrated ocean and rail solutions.

“Big customers – importers, growers and retailers alike – are operating with both, ocean and land-based cargo flows. By offering them our reliable landside distribution network via rail we will help to create faster, greener and more efficient routes regardless of the origin and destination of the sensitive cargo,” he said.

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