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Nestlé UK and Ireland on track to help net zero progress in successful double-stacked rail trial with Tesco

Niall, standing in front of a Tesco train with a Nestlé container on it.
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Nestlé UK and Ireland has delivered a first of its kind rail container which facilitates double-stacked pallets, to Tesco last week. The advanced rail container utilises a roof raising mechanism, allowing products to be double-stacked from floor to ceiling operating at full capacity before the roof is lowered for transit. This means it’s easier to carry up to double the amount of product compared to other container types. 

According to the Rail Delivery Group, each freight train has the potential to take up to 76 heavy goods vehicles off the roads and one tonne of products moved by a rail journey produces 76% less emissions than a diesel road journey1.  

For the first time, double-stacked Purina products travelled on rail from Hams Hall Distribution Park, in North Warwickshire, to the Tesco Thurrock distribution centre. The container has been in development for two years and the aim is to now refine it for future delivery opportunities by this method to contribute to a greener distribution strategy.

In 2022, Nestlé announced its plans to increase freight capacity on trains as part of its commitment to reducing environmental impact.  

Nestlé UK and Ireland is passionate about finding a solution to double-stack product successfully on rail freight and this trial is a core part of that journey.  The success of this trial will allow the company to grow its rail freight volume and support its drive to reduce CO² and its reliance on diesel road freight.

Niall McCarthy, Rail Development and Delivery Manager, at Nestlé UK and Ireland, said: 
“This trial marks an important development in Nestlé’s commitment to halve its emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. This initial trial will help launch stronger supply chain resilience and reduce carbon emissions in the Nestlé UK and Ireland network. Furthermore, we are proud to deliver to Tesco on this trial, a customer of ours who has been on rail since 2008.” 

Nestlé partnered with Bootle Containers, and Marine Container Test Services to design and build the container. Trials have been carried out in partnership with Network Rail, Forth Ports, W H Malcolm Group and Direct Rail Services. Following the success of this trial movement Nestlé will now look to develop a strategy to expand and refine opportunities to deliver goods by this method. 

1 2019-05_rail_freight_delivering_for_britain.pdf ( (page 5)