ICA, Volvo, Green Cargo, and Scanlog v COVID-19

The parties have agreed to re-establish Volvo's train, that in the past connected the company's facilities in Sweden with its factory in the Belgian Ghent, but which has come to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The service has been also used in the past by ICA who through the Swedish logistics company Scanlog booked slots on the train's northbound leg.

The link, two 19-railcar-long trains/week (equivalent to 80 trucks/week), was re-opened during the Easter week, carrying goods from ICA's warehouse in Ghent to Sweden.

In their joint press release, the companies underlined that it's not only about reducing the risk of supply shortages, but also minimising the danger of contracting and spreading the virus by lorry drivers, a shortage of whom, should they fall-ill, will be even more felt by European trucking companies and may result in delivery delays.

"We at ICA are constantly working towards reducing the climate impact of our transports and will continue doing so, even in these difficult times. We have a responsibility towards the society - to secure the supply of essential goods as well as lower the emissions. We're still getting the majority of the deliveries that we need, but in order to make sure that's also the case in the future we're glad that we have set up this solution to reintroduce train traffic from Ghent," Magnus Stadig, Head of Logistics, ICA, said.

Fredrik Vråmo, VP Logistics Purchasing, Volvo, added, "To deliver food, medicine, and other necessities is the transport system's most fundamental function. While waiting for southbound volumes to flow again, it feels good to be able to take part in brining large quantities of provisions into the country."

"I'm proud that through this partnership we've quickly managed to find a solution, even during these hard corona-times, thanks to which goods can reach their recipients on time and both domestic- and internationally. Railways play a critical role in the functioning of a society during normal times and it only shows in the time of a crisis how important is uninterrupted rail freight transportation for securing the flow of goods and industrial supplies," Ted Söderholm, CEO, Green Cargo, also commented.

Mattias Ljungberg, CEO, Scanlog, summed up, "Sweden's functioning is dependent upon unbroken transport flows. Reduced exports have lowered northbound trucking availability. More and more ferry lines are being halted, resulting in lorry traffic having now to go overland and cross many country borders. It's feels both good and extremely important that large volumes of consumables can be transported by rail."

Photo: Scanlog