The collaboration between DistriRail and Hannibal, a subsidiary of Contship Italia Group, from February this year comes at a very good time to support the fresh fruit supply chain at a time of significant disruption.
Since March, one-by-one, countries in EU locked down their borders and imposed restrictions on their citizens as well as travellers. Millions of workers cannot get to the fields for harvesting and planting. Meanwhile, the shortage of truck drivers in Europe, was further affecting the fresh food supply chain. To mitigate the trucking capacity issue for long haul fresh food trades within the EU and to provide reliable supply chain services, Contship is giving producers and buyers alternative solutions through international intermodal and ramp services.
“It’s our mission to ensure transport for goods, in particular, fresh produce, through our railway and cool solutions for intra-EU and short-sea trades moving northbound and southbound, between The Netherlands, UK and Northern Italy, amid the current disruption." said Daniele Testi, Marketing and Communications Director of Contship Italia.
DistriRail and Contship Italia Group currently guarantee a daily train connection between the Netherlands (Rotterdam), Belgium (Antwerp) and Italy (Melzo-Milano). The rail corridor offers dedicated network reaching all Rotterdam deep-sea terminals and via the terminal at the “Rail Service Center” we are also connecting to UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Island, Russia, etc. via short-sea shipping routes.
While on the Italian side, from Rail Hub Milano, Hannibal runs several rail services to Padua, Bari, La Spezia, Genoa and to Ravenna port system, the latest providing short sea connections with Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon and Albania and all major port destinations in the East Mediterranean Sea.
In particular, Ravenna Container Terminal represents a strategic gateway for fresh cargo trades in the Adriatic Sea offering several maritime connections with very fast transit times. Operationally the goods are today unstuffed from the reefer containers and directly loaded onto refrigerated trucks that are reaching Northern European areas by road.
At both sides and Italy especially in Ravenna we also offer a bonded warehouse with the possibility of completing stuffing/un-stuffing of all kinds of goods especially perishable ones. Furthermore, all inspection activities such as: port health, customs inspections, veterinary inspections, X –Rays are conducted in the terminal area with many benefits for customers.
“Based on a daily departure, rail transit between Rotterdam and Melzo-Milan only takes 17 hours.” Dennis De Roo, Managing Director of Van Donge & de Roo, parent company of DistriRail, said, “Shippers can also transport separate pallet loads via our partners and clients. It is also a good alternative during the current disruptions per truck and is already proven to be more Co2 neutral than by road, this is also being confirmed by the recent findings of The Umweltbundesamt, the environmental department of the German government, the train is a factor of six “cleaner” than the truck.”
The rail service for fresh cargo is enabled by the “45’ Feet High Cube Diesel-Electric Pallet Wide Reefer” units that Distrirail and Hannibal can offer to shippers and freight Forwarders. They can run for over 5 days without plug-in, keeping the inside temperature controlled in a range of minus and plus 25 degree Celsius. Consumption is at the maximum of 2 litres of diesel per hours to keep the coolest temperature.
These units match the need of several commodities including fish, meat, fruits, vegetables and pharma. Products that today have reached an average increase in demand by the larger Italian retailer in excess of 20% compared to same period of 2019. Furthermore Italy is one of the largest producers of high quality foods which is expected to boost in the coming weeks as a consequence of the massive financial support that the Italian government has put in place since April the 6th for over euro 200 billion specifically designed to support the export of “made in Italy” production.
In times of disruption, something unexpected has happened – air quality in Europe has significantly improved due to the huge reduction on cars on the road. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA) data shows air pollutant concentrations in Rome and Milan have dropped by 50 per cent. Air pollutants impact the fruit quality and as well as the harvest. Crops can be damaged when exposed to high concentrations of various air pollutants
“We as an industry can also play our part to help the EU become a neutral state. One way is to consider diversifying the modes of transportation. The EU has already stepped up by announcing the “European Green Deal” in December 2019. Transport is currently the second largest “Greenhouse Gases emitting” sector after energy production, accounting for nearly 24% of Europe’s GHG emissions.” said Testi.
Among all the modes of transportation (excluding aviation), road transport is the biggest polluter, with 40% of those road emissions being emitted in urban and suburban areas.
Apart from focusing on keeping the flow of fruit and fresh cargo going during this challenging time, what we are facing right now is indeed a nature’s wake-up call for us to make a healthier and greener choice.
Contship and DistriRail, being long-established intermodal services leaders in the region, are ready and committed to partner with shippers around the world to work towards a cleaner environment and a healthier future for our next generation.
For more information:
20066 Melzo (MI), Italy
Tel: +39 (0)2 950 761