PDS Mossend 5 LR

Plans for a new international rail freight terminal at Mossend in Bellshill have been approved by Scottish ministers.

The new Mossend International Railfreight Park (MIRP) will expand the existing Mossend railhead run by PD Stirling and will be able to accommodate the latest 775 metre-long electric freight trains, said the firm, as well as the current 400-450 metre ones.

PD Stirling director David Stirling said the decision would “open up new opportunities for rail freight and sustainable low-carbon logistics in Scotland”. He also suggested the MIRP would be “able to compete favourably on cost with road transport”.

A company spokeswoman declined to say, however, what the new terminal will cost to establish or when it might open for business.

PD Stirling has suggested the extra terminal will add significant extra rail freight capacity between Scotland and the rest of the UK as well as to and from mainland Europe.

The moves comes, however, as the FTA warned that continuing delays and disruptions to Eurotunnel’s services as a result of the ongoing migrant activities in France and the imposition of Operation Stack in the UK could have a “devastating” effect on confidence in rail freight through the Channel Tunnel.

FTA manager of rail freight policy Chris MacRae said he had spoken to one business in Scotland recently that regularly used the tunnel and had managed only five out of a planned 25 train services in the past five weeks, leading to losses of around £150,000.

The PD Stirling spokeswoman said: "Like everyone else, we're hoping the situation [with Eurotunnel] improves in the near future for everyone's sake."