EUROPE: To ensure deliveries to Sweden during the coronavirus pandemic, grocery chain ICA is transporting goods using rail services which Green Cargo normally operates for Volvo Group.
The trains are run to transport goods from Sweden to Volvo’s factory at Gent in Belgium. For the last six years Swedish logistics company Scanlog has used the north-bound leg to transport cargo such as food for ICA.
The service had not run since the pandemic led to the suspension of production at the Gent factory in March, but ICA, Volvo, Scanlog and Green Cargo agreed to restart operations from Easter even though there is currently no southbound traffic.
Two 19-wagon trains can carry the equivalent of 80 lorry loads of goods from Gent to ICA’s warehouses each week, reducing the risk of shortages during the pandemic and mitigating the potential impact of driver shortages owing to illness.
‘Reduced export flows reduce the accessibility of truck capacity for north-bound freight’, said Scanlog CEO Mattias Ljungberg on April 9. ‘More and more ferries are being cancelled, which means that road freight needs to take land routes and pass through several borders. Being able to ensure the transportation of a large quantity of groceries by rail is both gratifying and rather important.
‘I’m proud of how quickly we could work together and find a solution to ensure that important goods reach their recipients both nationally and internationally’, said Green Cargo CEO Ted Söderholm. ‘Rail is a key societal function even in normal conditions, and the situation right now really highlights how important continued rail shipments are for all goods and industrial supply chains all over Europe.’