Bulk transport – offering new services in Lyon

Just recently, our Bulk department has introduced an inventive solution on transporting non-craneable trailers by train.

“About 1,5 years ago we started conversations concerning train and non-craneable trailers with CFL, an intermodal rail network connecting major ports and European industrial centers.”, Ronald van der Plas, BU Manager in Lyon explains. “We were both convinced that a collaboration between us could be of added value.”

While the bulk network is very active between the South of Europe, Lyon, Marseille, the Benelux and the Western part of Germany, CFL is running an existing train connection between Luxembourg and Perpignan. Typically, CFL uses craneable containers and trailers that can be readily loaded and unloaded on and off trains and trucks. This is a very efficient and practical way of transporting goods using multimodal routes.

The Vega system

For our bulk trailers this was no option at that point though. They are known to be non-craneable and no practical solutions were yet available due to technical obstacles. However, when investigating further, the Vega system could be adapted to this train under the condition that the train platforms in Lyon and Luxembourg would be adapted accordingly. Vega is a platform on which a trailer is pulled upon and then moved by crane on the train wagon. By doing so, they become craneable. Appearing to be a promising alternative and possibly making for a perfect fit for our bulk trailers, CFL, together with the Vos Logistics Bulk team, began testing the system in 2020.

Creative solution

At first, the kingpin could not be secured well enough because the train wagon was not actually fit for securing bulk trailers at all. We moved on to getting in touch with the Port of Lyon to find a solution to the challenges we faced with the Vega system. And we did. Finally, on the 1st of March 2021 we went live with combined transport from Luxembourg to Lyon and back. Our non-craneable tank trailers can now easily be transported from Bettembourg to Lyon and vice versa.

Significant reduction in CO2 emissions

Ronald van der Plas: “By having entered in this partnership, we added an operational solution and offer our clients a more sustainable alternative for road-bulk transport at the same time. With an eye on the Paris Agreement, which is a binding international treaty on climate change, logistic service providers are required to come up with their own initiatives for increasing multimodal transport and therefore reducing CO2 emissions. We are glad that we can add yet another sustainable transport option to our service portfolio.”

Interested in learning more about this topic? Get in touch with Ronald van der Plas through rvdplas@voslogistics.com or call +33 (0)617 293 572.