Colruyt Group announced that they will be shipping tonnes of citrus fruit from Spain each week via new company Cool Rail, a produce-specific transport venture that links Valencia and the Port of Cologne.
Each container travels 83% less kilometres than by truck transport, and reduces carbon emissions by 70%, the company said. The trip only takes one extra day than the journey by truck and doesn't affect the freshness of the produce, Colruyt added.
Trucks then take the produce to a distribution centre in Halle and return to Cologne with freshly-washed, reusable Euro Pool System crates.
Cool Rail is an international venture supported by retail, transport and logistics companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. It was started by the Dutch fruit and vegetable wholesaler Bakker Barendrecht and the Euro Pool System logistics company, and is supported by the port of Rotterdam.
Import project leader Wim Verghote commented, “It’s remarkable that so many partners could get together to work on more sustainable transport. Hopefully, this initiative will inspire others to take action.”
In the future, Cool Rail will be able to transport other produce, such as broccoli and lettuce.
In the month of November, two trains will run each week. Cool Rail hopes to increase it to five trains per week as more partners sign up to the scheme. Retailers Albert Heijn and Edeka are already participants.
The move to Cool Rail is part of Colruyt's sustainable transport plan, which involves switching from truck transport to maritime and rail. Last year, half of goods imported from other European countries travelled by boat or rail, saving an approximate 3,177,000 truck kilometres.
© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Karen Henderson. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.