Nestlé UK and Ireland is set to cut its road freight journeys after the successful trial of a rail container used to deliver goods to Tesco, which can be packed with double-stacked pallets.

The rail container carried double-stacked Purina products from Hams Hall Distribution Park, in North Warwickshire, to the Tesco Thurrock distribution centre, for the first time last week.

The rail container, which has been in development for two years, uses a roof raising mechanism which allows products to be double-stacked from floor to ceiling, before the roof is lowered for transit.

The design makes it easier to carry up to double the amount of product compared to other container types.

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 said it will now look to develop a strategy to expand and refine opportunities to deliver goods by this method.

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The development follows Nestlé announcement last year to put more of its freight on trains as part of its commitment to cut its carbon emissions.

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

Nestlé said this week that it is “passionate about finding a solution to double-stack product successfully on rail freight and this trial is a core part of that journey".

It added: “The success of this trial will allow the company to grow its rail freight volume and support its drive to reduce CO² and its reliance on diesel road freight.”

Niall McCarthy, Nestlé UK and Ireland rail development and delivery manager, 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.”