Iarnród Éireann and XPO begin new rail freight service between Port of Waterford & Ballina

At Port of Waterford Port today, Iarnród Eireann and XPO Logistics, a leading global provider of freight transportation solutions, launched a new rail freight service in each direction between Ballina, Co Mayo and Waterford. Pictured are Jim Meade Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive, Frank Ronan Port of Waterford Chief Executive and Kelvin Bulmer General Manager at XPO Logistics Europe. Picture: Patrick Browne

*75% reduction in emissions for freight by rail – Minister Ryan welcomes climate-friendly option for industry 

At Port of Waterford Port today, Iarnród Eireann and XPO Logistics, a leading global provider of freight transportation solutions, launched a new rail freight service in each direction between Ballina, County Mayo and Waterford. 

The new rail service begins weekly operations today, building to twice-weekly within eight weeks. 

It will offer Irish industry a greener and more efficient mode of transporting freight between the West and Southeast of the country. It will see the potential for over 5,000 truck movements a year to switch from road to rail, with a resulting reduction in road congestion, and 75% reduction in emissions per unit. 

The new service comes as Iarnród Éireann is finalising a new national rail freight strategy to identify growth and investment opportunities to significantly grow rail freight operations.

Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive Jim Meade said, “We are entering a very exciting phase where rail freight can offer key solutions for the movement of freight as the country addresses both environmental and congestion challenges in this sector. We are currently finalising a very ambitious strategic plan for the growth of rail freight between key locations across the country. Today’s announcement with XPO and Waterford Port demonstrates the viable opportunities that can be developed that will not just support industry and the logistics sector, but is also fully aligned with the country’s climate action plan.” 

Dan Myers, managing director – UK and Ireland, XPO Logistics, said, “Climate change is a critical global challenge; the solutions will take a concerted effort, coordinated action and cooperation. Our collaborative, end-to-end service with Irish Rail — where XPO provides the booking of rail freight movements, drayage trucking of containers, and services such as cross-docking — is a double win. Our customers have new, eco-friendly transport options, and our planet wins as supply chains become greener. It’s another step in our collective journey to a carbon-neutral future.” 

Port of Waterford Chief Executive Frank Ronan said, “Port of Waterford welcomes the re-introduction of rail freight services to the Port at Belview. These trains, carrying container freight, will work very effectively with the Port’s Lo-Lo shipping services to provide businesses in Ireland’s West/North West with a compelling logistics solution to and from mainland Europe. 

The excellent carbon emissions reductions we will achieve on this freight plus the alleviation of road and port congestion in Dublin make this a very worthwhile initiative. We wish XPO Logistics every success with this venture and look forward to working with them.” 

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD said: “The way we choose to connect communities and businesses will be critically important as we look to halve our emissions by 2030. Rail and other sustainable solutions will play an important role on our journey to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This new freight service offers a climate friendly option connecting enterprises from the West to the Southeast of the country and onwards to export markets ,and we look forward to growing our rail freight operations soon.” 

Iarnród Éireann is continuing to work with existing and potential new customers and Freight Forwarders, Ports and the Irish Exporters Association to identify opportunities and trends for rail freight development within the Irish and European market. 

The new rail freight service between Ballina and Waterford is in addition to existing rail freight operations, which include:

–         Container traffic from Ballina to Dublin Port

–         Pulpwood from Ballina and Westport to Waterford Port

–         Zinc ore from Tara Mines in Navan to Dublin Port