AG Barr embarks on rail freight initiative

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recycling

Roger White
Roger White
Irn Bru maker AG Barr will start shifting its first deliveries by rail this month after striking a three-year warehousing and distribution contract with Eddie Stobart.

Under the £18m deal, stock will be transported from Barr’s Cumbernauld soft drinks factory to the Grangemouth rail freight terminal and then by rail to Stobart’s new central stockholding distribution centre in Crick, Northamptonshire.

Stobart trucks will then distribute the products to retailers across the country.

The Crick depot is part of the Daventry rail freight terminal complex, while Barr’s Cumbernauld factory in Glasgow is about 20 miles from the rail freight terminal at Grangemouth.

The rail freight deal is just one of several initiatives explored by AG Barr over the last 18 months to reduce its carbon footprint, said the soft drinks giant, which is currently assessing the viability of generating its own electricity at Cumbernauld via a 2MW wind turbine.

On-site electricity generation

The firm, which is closing its Mansfield factory in 2011 and increasing production at Cumbernauld, has received the go-ahead from North Lanarkshire Council to install the turbine, said a spokesman, but was still evaluating the business case.“The full capital and environmental justification proposals are currently being developed, which if approved could see the turbine installed within 2011.”

Other carbon-reduction initiatives were also in the trial stages, he said.“Last year we invested in a new 10t electric Smith Newton truck as part of our ongoing strategy to reduce our carbon footprint.

“The truck operates out of our Walthamstow depot in London and whilst we are pleased with its performance we will need to road test it for further 12-18 months in order to understand the full performance benefits of this type of delivery vehicle before we are able to commit to any further purchases.”

A second trial begun last year to convert one of its larger primary transport trucks [which move stock from factories to depots] to run on a diesel/LPG mix required “an additional testing period to determine the comparative performance”​, he claimed.

Packaging waste reduction

Barr chief executive Roger White (pictured above) was also one of the first food manufacturing bosses to sign up to Courtauld Commitment II, the second phase of a voluntary waste reduction agreement between the major supermarkets and grocery suppliers, he added.

“Barr will aim to reduce the weights of its PET bottles produced at Cumbernauld by 8%, a saving of 375t of PET a year, and by the end of March, all Strathmore Spring Water PET bottles have been produced using 25% recycled plastic (rPET).”

Related topics: Supply Chain, Drinks

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