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Glass container manufacturer trials delivering bottles by rail

Jul 15, 2023

A GLASS container manufacturer on the outskirts of Chester has completed trials of transporting finished bottles by rail.

Encirc has been using the railhead at its Elton site.

The successful trial period represents a significant step in the company's ambition to create the most sustainable national drinks supply chain in the UK.

Emissions from distribution contribute significantly to the carbon footprint of container glass.

While these emissions can often be considered ‘out of reach’ of efforts to decarbonise, Encirc has identified rail distribution as a potential solution to reducing emissions.

The manufacturer's Elton railhead is currently used to deliver raw materials and recycled glass used in the production process.

However, Encirc has earmarked it to play a crucial role in its plans to create an ultra-sustainable transport network for glass across the UK.

Adrian Curry, managing director of Encirc, said: "The potential benefits offered by our Elton railhead are significant.

"A tonne of freight transported by rail produces 76 per cent fewer carbon emissions compared with road haulage, so developing our rail capacity across the UK will enable us to vastly reduce our own carbon footprint and that of our partners."

Encirc has conducted three successful trials over the last two years, providing a workable framework for how the rail transport network will work in practice.

Supported by WH Malcolm, MDS Transmodal and Cheshire West and Chester Council, the trials began in 2022 with the successful delivery of spirit bottles to a customer in Scotland and have most recently continued with the transport of bottles to the company's newly acquired filling site, ‘The Park’, in Bristol.

"The rail network can have a transformative impact on the carbon footprint of our supply chain, and that has a direct effect on those of our partners.

"Each load of bottles and jars delivered by train is the equivalent to taking 66 lorries off the UK's roads, an already sizeable reduction which we intend to scale up significantly in the long term, with 70 per cent of bottles produced at the Cheshire site eventually leaving by rail."

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