The award follows a successful collaboration between the two parties on a project at the port of Southampton in support of the global automotive giant, BMW MINI.
In January 2020, BMW MINI advised that, due to a change in customer demand and international shipping services, it planned to increase volumes of its cars into Southampton’s Eastern Docks from its Oxford production plant. This increase in traffic, however, would cause some logistical issues due to capacity constraints at the Eastern Docks. If the site was not able to accommodate the new volumes, BMW MINI would have no option but to move their vehicles by road instead of rail.
To overcome this problem, DB Cargo UK’s Sales and Production teams set to work with ABP to find a solution. The team investigated the feasibility of re-establishing an automotive rail head at the port’s Western Docks, a location which was closer to the ships used to transport the vehicles.
ABP began making the necessary upgrades to the site which included the installation of temporary power generators, improved lighting, and the creation of a new raised platform to enable the safe loading and unloading of vehicles from the wagons. DB Cargo UK’s Service Design and Planning Team began working with Network Rail to identify new paths into the Western Docks.
On January 19th, 2021, the first full service ran from Oxford to Southampton’s Western Docks consisting of eight, fully-loaded WIA wagons carrying some 220 MINIs.
Adam Baines, DB Cargo UK’s Head of Logistics Sales, said:
“It’s fantastic to see the hard work put into creating this solution for BMW MINI celebrated at such a high-profile industry awards ceremony. Freight belongs on rail and we are extremely proud that by working together with ABP, we successfully demonstrated to BMW MINI that we can adapt our rail services to cope with increased demand and continue to deliver a cost-effective solution with minimum disruption to their supply chain.
He added: “This ultimately persuaded them not to switch from rail to road!”
The service from Oxford to Southampton Western Docks continues to operate today with up to five round trips per week.