Freight forwarding within Europe accounts for 700 million people and cargo services. Plans have been set in place to shift this cargo as effectively and efficiently as possible, and Western Europe’s gateway for freight have recently announced an innovation within the industry: Italy’s first high-speed freight train. Mercitalia Rail’s new high-speed feature is set to change Western Europe’s supply chain, connecting Bologna to the Maddaloni-Marcianise terminal close to Naples.

The high-speed freight train is expected to perform an average speed of 110 mph, which will achieve 370 miles in three hours and twenty minutes. The Mercitalia ETR 500 is made up of 12 cars, which is the equivalent of 18 semi-trailer trucks or two Boeing 747 cargo planes. Supporting roro loads, the wagons feature reassembling baskets on wheels in order to accommodate for various types of cargo. The train service is designed to handle time-sensitive loads, and will further offer transport for express couriers, logistics operators and real estate developers with an option of a tailor-made service.

Mercitalia Rail hope that introducing a faster service for freight and courier will enhance the industry’s economy after its fall since the 2008 credit crunch. It is hoped that Italy’s one-of-a-kind high-speed service will see benefits in the economy in the south, which will ultimately boost the north’s progress. In a conversation with FreightWaves, Marco Gosso, CEO of Mercitalia Logistics said “With the new Mercitalia Fast service we will use the high speed/high capacity network for freight transport,”. “Today we are the only railway company that can guarantee this business. We plan to extend the offer to other terminals in main Italian cities reached by the high-speed network: Turin, Novara, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Padua, Rome, and Bari.”

Reviewing the train’s current progress, it has been reported that it would reduce an impressive 80% of carbon emissions associated with hauling the equivalent amount of cargo through road freight (trucks) between Bologna and Naples. Furthermore, an ease in traffic congestion on the main Italian motorway, Autostrada A1, which connects the two cities will reduce the number of tractor-trailers by 9,000 per year on the highway.

The new high-speed technology is set to alter transportation of goods between Italy’s freight hubs between Bologna and Naples, and according to the Minister of Labour and Economic Development, Luigi Di Maio, “the movement of goods in our country [are] fast, remarkably safe and environmentally friendly, [which] are the concrete actions of a Government that strongly emphasizes intermodality in transport”.

Rachel Jefferies, Editor, FORWARDERmagazine