McDonald’s distributor saves millions by moving inbound freight over the rails.
Road Not Taken: ASDA Train Saves 22 Million Road Miles In First Five Years
In England, Wal-Mart’s ASDA chain celebrated the fifth anniversary of its pioneering train service that transports groceries, general merchandise and clothing from distribution centers in the Midlands to stores in Scotland. The daily service has clocked up more than 22 million miles since it was launched in 2001.
By switching more of its freight to rail, ASDA estimates it has reduced the overall number of road miles traveled by its fleet transport by around 5 percent, and is on course to reduce the amount of carbon it produces by 80,000 metric tons by the end of 2008.
The ASDA train started running from Lutterworth, Corby and Brackmills depots in 2001 via the rail terminal at Daventry to a terminal in Grangemouth, Scotland. Since then, ASDA has sent an average of 26 containers per day north, eliminating 20 million road miles.
In 2004, the supermarket retailer also began running trains from Grangemouth to stores in the Aberdeen area, saving two million additional road miles.
According to Ian Bowles, environment manager at ASDA, the company has cut the number of company trucks on the road significantly since 2001.
This year we went one step further and opened a deep seaport facility in Teesside, cutting a further 1.5 million road miles by shipping goods directly to the north by sea rather than via southern ports like Felixstowe,” he says.
ASDA has a policy of collecting products from its suppliers on return trips from its stores to its depots, saving 500,000 road miles each year. In addition the 750 trucks used in ASDA’s fleet distribution network have been converted to run on a bio-diesel mix, reducing carbon tail pipe emissions by 3 percent. Each truck is less than four years old, making the fleet one of the most fuel efficient on U.K. roads.
“As part of our on-going efforts to minimize CO2 emissions, we’re also seeking planning permission to install two-mega-watt wind turbines at our depots. We aim to have five sites fully operational by the end of 2007 positioned across the U.K.,” Bowles adds.
ASDA is also working with Yorkshire Forward and the U.K. Carbon Trust. A “Carbon Club” has also been established with 11 major suppliers to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency in its supply chain.