Milestone journey for DB Schenker Rail
Last Saturday DB Schenker Rail moved the first European-sized freight train on the UK’s High Speed 1 (HS1) rail link connecting the Channel Tunnel to London. The HS1 is the only European-sized rail route in the country.
The new service will connect the UK via HS1 to the rest of its pan European rail freight network.  It will enable automotive customers to link European plants and offers the possibility of loading up to 96m3 in a curtain-sided unit with an internal height of three metres, a larger capacity than current UK versions.
The inaugural journey featured two wagons from Spanish logistics operator Transfesa and four European swap bodies, which were brought from Dollands Moor near Folkstone to a rail terminal in East London.
Bernd Hullerum, chief executive of Transfesa, said: "This is a great opportunity for our Automotive customers to link their European plants using the same Mega Combi equipment used for this trial, as they offer the possibility to load up to 96 cubic meters in a curtain sided unit which is key for this industry."

DB Schenker Rail will next trial the first full train of European-sized swap-bodies before moving onto regular services.

Tata begins SKD assembly in South Africa
Tata Motors’ joint venture with Tata Africa Holding has officially opened its ZAR110m ($16m) plant in Rosslyn South Africa for the production of commercial vehicles.
The plant is now making the Tata LPT 813 and LPT 1518 medium to heavy trucks assembled from semi-knockdown kits shipped from the company’s plant in Jamshedpur in India, which makes medium and heavy commercial vehicles. Tata would not confirm delivery or output details at the plant but said that it had a total annual capacity of 3,650 vehicles and can assemble vehicles ranging from 4 tonnes to 50 tonnes.
Tata Motors started exports to South Africa in 1998, with commercial vehicles with exports for passenger vehicles following in 2004. So far the company has exported over 32,000 commercial vehicles and 31,000 passenger vehicles to the country.
Currently there are over 20 commercial vehicle models and five passenger vehicle models in diesel and petrol variants.
Antwerp records car volume increase
The port of Antwerp has recorded a 19.1% rise in the number of vehicles handled in the first half of the year against the same period in 2010. Nearly 527,000 cars were loaded and unloaded during the six months from January, part of a general increase in freight through the port of 10.4%.
Last year the port handled an annual total of nearly 692,000 vehicles, from carmakers including Mazda, Fiat and Ford, with a volume increase in the first six months of nearly 30% on 2009. Antwerp ranked number five in the top vehicle ports last year behind fellow Belgian port Zeebrugge at number one.
Container volume in the first six months of 2011 at the port was up by 3.4% in comparison with the same period in 2010, from 51.3 to 53m tonnes.
WWL awards Union Pacific for rail service
WWL Vehicle Services Americas has recognised Union Pacific as its 2010 rail carrier of the year, citing the rail provider’s performance in the areas of timely delivery, quality and customer service.
“We are extremely honored to be recognized by WWL Vehicle Services Americas,” said Linda Brandl, Union Pacific vice president and general manager - Automotive. “Consistently providing high levels of service and value is how we build and maintain strong relationships with our customers. While we are proud of our 2010 accomplishments, we are working to deliver even better performance in 2011 and beyond.”
Union Pacific directly serves five vehicle assembly plants and distributes imported vehicles from seven West Coast ports and one Gulf Coast port. Union Pacific operates or accesses 43 vehicle distribution centers, covering most major western U.S. cities.
The company has just reported a 14% revenue increase from its automotive business in the second quarter of the year and an overall net income of $785m.
WWL also recognised The Waggoners Trucking with a 2010 Provider Recognition Award for Truck/Haul Away Services.
MOL car carriers get a smooth ride
Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) is applying a new low-friction ship-bottom paint to its car carriers Eternal Ace and Brilliant Ace, which the company said will improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.
Called Seaflo Neo and produced by Chugoku Marine Paint, it employs a newly developed low-viscosity hydrolyzed polymer with a smooth finish that minimises friction drag between the hull and the water, improving fuel efficiency by 3-5% according to the company.
As one of the environmental strategies in the midterm management plan GEAR UP! MOL is promoting its next-generation vessel concept Sempaku ISHIN. The adoption of the new paint is part of the concept.
Earlier this year the company announced it was working with Akishima Laboratories on the joint development of an ‘optimum trim system’ to save fuel expenditure on a car carrier vessel. Trim adjustments can significantly reduce wave drag, and the results were confirmed in practical tests using the car carrier.