CoolRail is a direct rail connection for fresh produce between Valencia and Rotterdam. This dedicated, temperature-controlled train transports fresh produce three times a week. Transporting goods to the Netherlands using this direct rail link is just as fast as road transport, but far more sustainable, as a CO2 reduction of 70% -90% is realised. CoolRail is an initiative of Euro Pool System, a provider of logistics services and reusable standard packaging in the European food supply chain. Parties from the retail, logistics and fruit and vegetable sectors are also participating in this sustainable initiative. As per 6 May, when the service started, 42 containers will travel between the stations, at a frequency of three times a week for 48 weeks a year.

An important driver of the stakeholders is increasing the sustainability of transport movements between Spain and the Netherlands. Spain is the major trading partner of north-western Europe for the import of fresh fruit and vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and oranges.

Euro Pool System has invested in the train facilities. This includes the locomotives (SNCF/Renfe/DB) and containers, wagon units, terminals and road transport. Shuttlewise will be tasked with operating the service on behalf of EPS. The shippers pool must ensure a regular volume commitment to the service.

CoolRail delivers a CO2 reduction of 70% -90%. Rail transport reduces the number of truck movements by 12,096 annually and saves 22 million kilometres of road transport. This reduces the Co2 emission by approximately 15,000 tons a year - a figure that equates to the annual output of almost six large wind turbines.

This calculation was made in cooperation with Supply Chain Management at RMS Erasmus University.

The costs are the same. Depending on the costs for "the last mile" in the Netherlands, the actual expense may be cheaper or slightly more expensive.

The first phase consisted of a link between Valencia and Cologne (Germany). That was a five-month pilot. The result was very positive in terms of service and reliability, but the service not economically competitive for shipments to the Netherlands. The last part of transport to the final destinations in the Netherlands was still done by road. The service now terminates in Rotterdam and is therefore a profitable service for Dutch shippers.

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