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New innovations boost Tarmac rail-freight capabilities

Liebherr LH80C 'Supergrab' gantry materials handler

Two industry firsts form part of ongoing commitment to enhance productivity and efficiency

TARMAC have enhanced their rail-freight capabilities with a series of new innovations as part of an ongoing commitment to productivity and supporting delivery of the UK’s infrastructure ambitions.

The UK’s leading sustainable building materials and construction solutions business has become the first in the UK to install a Liebherr LH80C ‘Supergrab’ gantry materials handler (pictured). Recently unveiled at the company’s Battersea concrete plant, in London, the new equipment from Rail Freight Services will significantly boost site performance by allowing faster offloading, improved stock control and increased delivery capacity.

In addition, in a European-first partnership with Ermewa, Tarmac have installed GPS tracker systems on their freight wagons, giving real-time visibility of their position on the network and allowing customers to know precisely where a train is and when it will arrive for offloading.

Chris Swan, head of rail at Tarmac, said: ‘Developing our rail-freight capability and capacity is key to our operations and aligns with the national agenda to deliver a low-carbon built environment. We’re continually exploring and embracing innovations which support our efficient delivery of the right materials to the right place for customers.

‘With these industry firsts, we have been able to increase our stocking area by more than 300% at Battersea thanks to the acquisition of the ‘Supergrab’, whilst the GPS tracking system further highlights our abilities to drive efficiencies by adopting cutting-edge innovation.’

Tarmac are also working with leading international wagon hire and rail logistics company VTG to trial a new system designed to enhance the company’s rail-freight maintenance programme. The ‘VTG Connect’ units, which have been fitted to freight wagons and provide live visibility of the company’s trains to maintenance crews, help reduce overall train downtime.

In addition, the company is continuing to enhance its fleet of modern, efficient wagons to support freight expansion, with the latest set of box wagons from Freightliner now operating from Tarmac’s Tunstead site.

Tarmac are one of the UK’s largest users of rail freight and currently transport more than 9 million tonnes of construction materials by rail across the UK each year, helping to cut carbon from road vehicle movements.

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