10/16/12 4:11 PM

Tesco slashes supply chain emissions with rail route

Tesco is shifting freight from road to rail on certain routes as the retail giant looks to halve carbon emissions for each case of goods delivered by the end of the year.

The supermarket has partnered with local businesses to run a new rail freight service in Wales six days a week transporting swap-bodies. The trains run between Magor and Daventry, where Tesco has its main rail-connected UK distribution centre.

Each journey is estimated to take 40 lorries off the road, not only reducing traffic congestion, but also cutting emissions significantly. Hgvs typically produce 63g of CO2 for every tonne of freight transported per kilometre, which drops to just over 26g CO2 for rail freight – a reduction of nearly 60 per cent.

The return trip also provides opportunities for South Wales businesses to transport their own freight by rail at a reduced rate, further driving down emissions and congestion and making the route more cost effective.

Stobart Rail, which manages the train, is now looking for other companies in South Wales to take advantage of the service.

Tesco already has four dedicated rail services, which it estimates save 15,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by removing the need for 14 million miles of road journeys.

The latest initiative is part of the company's push to become a "carbon neutral" organisation by 2050 and comes just days after it was named the top UK retailer for carbon reporting for the fourth year in a row by the Carbon Disclosure Project

Christopher Snelling