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DB Cargo UK and Maritime Transport to cooperate

Two of the UK’s largest freight operators have announced plans to combine their expertise to increase railfreight capacity and competition in the intermodal market. It is forecast that 32M truck miles a year will be removed from the road network

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DB Cargo UK and Maritime Transport to cooperate

After reaching agreement in principle with DB Cargo UK, Maritime Transport Ltd has announced the launch of a new division, Maritime Intermodal, which will initially contract four dedicated services out of Felixstowe and Southampton, a port where Freightliner has always been the biggest player.


Through acquisitions in 2014 and 2010, Maritime controls two intermodal railheads, BIFT in the West Midlands and Railport Tilbury.

BIFT is part of Maritime Transport. (Photo: Actualis Marketing)
BIFT is part of Maritime Transport. (Photo: Actualis Marketing)

The long-term agreement will enable each organisation to operate to its strengths, driving up service and efficiency which will result in increased intermodal capacity and growth in railfreight.


Under the terms of the proposed agreement:


  • DB Cargo UK will be contracted to run Maritime Intermodal’s rail operations out of Felixstowe and Southampton and take responsibility for DB Cargo UK’s existing intermodal customers on its Felixstowe and Southampton services.
  • Maritime Intermodal will take on responsibility for DB Cargo UK’s terminals in Trafford Park, Manchester and Wakefield in West Yorkshire, thus strengthening the road haulier’s national network of strategic hubs.
  • Maritime Intermodal is committed to significant investment in equipment and groundworks at the two sites, improving terminal turnaround times whilst also increasing container storage capacities. The terminals will remain open-access to both intermodal and non-intermodal services.
  • Maritime Intermodal will retain existing services and seek additional services from all UK ports with all freight operating companies with the intention of increasing its intermodal offering.
  • DB Cargo UK will retain its remaining intermodal business including key flows to and from Scotland.

In essence, after many years of trying, DB Cargo seems to have concluded that it cannot take on Freightliner in the main ports deep sea "retail" segment on its own.


Hans-Georg Werner, CEO of DB Cargo UK, said: “This is an exciting new agreement that brings together two of the largest and most successful freight companies in the UK to offer an industry-leading service to customers.


“It will enable DB Cargo UK to focus on what it does best – the efficient and reliable running of rail freight services, while giving Maritime the platform to offer its customers further capacity to move its container traffic.


“Intermodal is the fastest growing freight market, yet our terminals were under-utilised. Maritime is a very successful logistics business and has the volumes and desire to turn these assets into sustainable and profitable distribution centres. It’s a real win-win and we look forward to working with Maritime going forward.”


John Williams, Executive Chairman of Maritime Group, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of Maritime Intermodal, a new division of our business created with the intention of offering increased resource to our customers in an increasingly difficult market place.


“In addition, over the four services alone, more than 32M miles will be taken off the UK road network each year, reducing both congestion and carbon dioxide emissions. This further enhances our creativity in developing intermodal solutions for our customers.”

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