How Nestle are double stacking their rail supply chain

Nestle UK and Ireland are delivering a new kind of rail container to help with net-zero efforts

The rail container uses double-stacked pallets, and were delivered to retail giant Tesco. The first-of-its-kind rail container uses a roof raising mechanism, which allows products to be double-stacked up to the ceiling to maximise capacity before the roof is then lowered down before for transit takes place. This process makes it easier to carry up to double the amount of product compared to other container types. 

Figures from the Rail Delivery Group suggest that each freight train has the potential to take up to 76 heavy goods vehicles off the roads of the UK and one tonne of products moved by a rail journey produces 76% less emissions than a diesel road journey.

Double stacking technology to maximise capacity 

In August the double-stacked Purina products were moved by rail from Hams Hall Distribution Park, in North Warwickshire, to the Tesco’s distribution centre in Thurrock, UK. The new kind of double-stack container has been developed over the last two years and the target is to refine it for future delivery opportunities by this method to contribute to a greener distribution strategy.

In 2022, Nestlé announced its plans to increase freight capacity on trains as part of its commitment to reducing environmental impact.  

Nestle strategy to grow rail freight

The success of the trial with the new pallets will allow the company to grow its rail freight volume and support a move away from using road freight for so much capacity. 

Niall McCarthy, Rail Development and Delivery Manager, at Nestlé UK and Ireland, said: 

“This trial marks an important development in Nestlé’s commitment to halve its emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. This initial trial will help launch stronger supply chain resilience and reduce carbon emissions in the Nestlé UK and Ireland network. Furthermore, we are proud to deliver to Tesco on this trial, a customer of ours who has been on rail since 2008.” 

Nestlé partnered with Bootle Containers, and Marine Container Test Services to design and build the container. Trials have been carried out in partnership with Network Rail, Forth Ports, W H Malcolm Group and Direct Rail Services. Following the success of this trial movement Nestlé will now look to develop a strategy to expand and refine opportunities to deliver goods by this method.

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