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New Technology at Calais to Create ‘Rail Motorway’ from UK to Russia

Jul 02, 2013
New technology at a key logistics site in Calais is to revolutionise the way freight is transported from the UK to Eastern Europe and beyond.

German company CargoBeamer is to target the UK logistics industry with its innovative system, which will lift unmodified lorries onto trains at the new Calais Premier logistics park due to open next year.

Construction work on the project, which is in partnership with property developers DCB International and economic development agency Calais Promotion, began in 2012, and will be completed by 2014.  The project is funded by the European Union and was designed at CargoBeamer’s headquarters in Leipzig.  The system will create a ‘rail motorway’ connecting the UK and France with Eastern Europe and Russia, freeing up heavily congested roads, and offering more profitable transport to hauliers.

CargoBeamer’s Marketing, Sales and Finance Director Michael Baier said, “CargoBeamer offers the only fully-automated system for transferring non-craneable semitrailers onto the railway and vice versa. Within one of our CargoGates, we can shift up to 10 times more trailers onto trains than a crane terminal. We have chosen to base our facility at Calais Premier as it’s strategically an important location close to the UK and the extensive European rail network.”

Currently only a fraction of road transport volume can be craned, and existing systems have high operating costs and take several hours to load. The CargoBeamer technology uses parallel, rather than sequential, loading, meaning 98% of non-craneable trailers can be on the train within 15 minutes. Additionally, it allows a change of railway gauge, thereby easing transport between countries. The firm’s goal is to have 75 CargoGates in Europe, creating a network of all freight centres and connecting all European cities, from Glasgow in the west, to Moscow and Istanbul in the east.

The gate at Calais Premier is to be an integral part of a major logistics development, the first phase of which will take two years to build and cover 50 hectares. DCB International believes this will create thousands of jobs and bring in investment worth £176m. The new facility will consist of 220,000m2 of logistics warehouses, 50,000m2 of industrial parks, and 11,000m2 of commercial property and will eventually become the biggest logistics development in Northern France, covering more than 160 hectares.

There will also be a significant investment in infrastructure, with £1.8m to create a new railway junction and modernise the Calais-Dunkirk railway line, and £350m set aside to double the size of the Port of Calais.

Pictures: Calais Premier logistics Park

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