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Multimodal in the Pyrenees

DB Cargo Logistics officially inaugurates the Trailer Med Xpress shuttle project at the border station of Perpignan.

The border station of Perpignan between Spain and France represents a key logistics hub for DB Cargo Logistics and the company's freight connection to Saarbrücken, which spans some 1,000 km. Since March 2018, this hub has linked the Mediterranean region to Germany by rail and created an ideal framework to shift a share of road freight traffic onto environmentally friendly rail. The full train schedule of five departures in each direction every week has been operating on the route since the summer.

Some 100 guests from politics and business were invited to the formal opening ceremony of the new route, which was held in late September as part of the Franco-German week in the southern French region of Occitanie.

In Saarbrücken and Perpignan, the two endpoints of the new route, lorries handle the first and last mile. Both containers and cranable mega trailers can be transported by rail on modern pocket wagons and picked up at the terminals by tractor units for onward road travel. "Our new shuttle system is showing how rail can develop services that are highly competitive with road transport on long-distance routes," says Jürgen Wernstedt, key account manager at DB Cargo Logistics. "This direct service offers the Spanish and French border regions a direct, eco-friendly link to Germany, and offers shippers a solution to the worsening shortage of road haulage drivers."

Ideal link

The Trailer Med Xpress, which DB Cargo Logistics designed for its core customers in the automotive industry along with their suppliers and freight forwarders, is also extending the benefits of a high-frequency shuttle system to all other customers. Perpignan is just a short distance from the French industrial centre of Toulouse, for example, while the major Spanish city of Barcelona and its logistics centre, Zona Franca, is only some 200 kilometres away by road. Going forward, DB Cargo Logistics plans to link this shuttle to its own high-capacity rail network so as to offer its customers additional high-frequency solutions to selected destinations in Germany. This will entail competitive transit times and prices and, of course, carbon-neutral transport.