A new rail freight service is being launched today, offering the industry a “green” option for transporting goods between the southeast and west of the country at Port Waterford.
The weekly service, which is being built twice a week within two months, is the work of Iarnród Éireann and XPO Logistics and will transport freight between the port and Ballina in County Mayo.
It has the capacity to move more than 5,000 trucks off the roads each year, which results in reduced road congestion and reduced emissions.
The new service comes as Iarnród Éireann is finalizing a new national rail freight strategy to identify growth and investment opportunities to significantly grow rail freight operations.
“We are entering a very exciting phase where rail freight can offer key solutions to freight traffic as the country addresses environmental challenges and congestion in the sector,” said Jim Mead, CEO of Iarnród Éireann.
“We are now finalizing a very ambitious strategic plan for the growth of rail freight between key locations across the country,” Mead said.
He added, “Today’s announcement with XPO and Waterford Port demonstrates viable opportunities that can be developed that will not only support industry and the logistics sector, but also fully align with the country’s climate action plan.”
Dan Myers, managing director of XPO Logistics for UK and Ireland transport, said solutions to tackle the “critical global challenge” of climate change will require “a concerted effort, coordinated action and collaboration.”
“Our comprehensive collaborative service with Irish Rail – where XPO provides booking of rail freight movements, container trucking, and services such as freight distribution – is a double win,” he said.
“Our customers enjoy new, greener transportation options, and our planet wins when supply chains get greener. It’s another step in our collective journey toward a carbon-neutral future,” Myers added.
Port of Waterford chief executive Frank Ronan said freight trains would “work very effectively with Port Lo-Lo freight services to provide businesses in West/Northwest Ireland a compelling logistical solution to and from mainland Europe”.
The new service was also welcomed by Transportation Secretary Eamonn Ryan, who called it an “environmentally friendly choice” and said rail and other sustainable solutions “will play an important role in our journey to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”
The new rail freight service between Ballina and Waterford is added on top of existing rail freight operations, which include container transportation from Ballina to Port Dublin; pulp wood from Ballina and Westport to Port Waterford; Zinc ore from the Tara mines in Navan to the port of Dublin.
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