Freight firm orders UK’s first electric tractor units
A Cardiff-based international freight firm has placed the UK’s first order for battery-electric heavy tractor units The order is part of Freight Systems Express Wales’ commitment to cut its carbon emissions by 50% within a year. FSEW is a logistics and international freight forwarding company based at Freightliner in Wentloog, Cardiff.
Currently employing approximately 76 people, the company provides transport services to clients in the UK, Europe and around the world. FSEW, which counts Tesco, Hoover Candy and Ford amongst its customers, saw sales increase by 25% to GBP15m in 2020 and forecasts a further 33% growth during 2021. In line with this growth, the business recently expanded its team in Cardiff to serve a growing portfolio of new global clients.
A previous winner of the Wales Fast Growth 50 Award and Tesco Collaborative Haulier of the Year award, the firm also has ambitious plans to develop the first eFreight hub in Europe, which they say will help drive low carbon transition across the commercial freight industry. FSEW’s new DAF CF Electric vehicles represent the company’s first major step towards switching to a fleet-wide zero-emissions transport operation. In collaboration with decarbonisation specialist, Egnida and DAF Trucks’ electric vehicle experts, the partnership embarked upon a month-long, end-to-end appraisal of all aspects of FSEW’s business, encompassing detailed journey analysis and comparison of the potential vehicle and charging options, including ongoing support capability.
Egnida used the results to create a profitable low-carbon business model for FSEW to extract maximum benefits from their new electric vehicles and provide a zero-emissions service as increasingly demanded by FSEW’s customers.
The two DAF CF Electric trucks now on order form part of an ambitious plan for FSEW to replace more than 40 diesel vehicles with low-carbon alternatives. Once the two CF Electrics are bedded-in, FSEW says it will introduce a further 10vehicles to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 50% in the next nine months. The company says its longer-term aim will be to hit ‘net-zero’ in two-and-a-half years.
In addition to greening its own fleet, the firm plans to develop an eFreight hub in Cardiff. The hub will include a low-carbon transport refuelling facility for the use of all freight providers and commercial and municipal operators, including bus and refuse lorries. In addition, the eFreight hub would aim to include an innovative storage system to make the most of local renewable energy generation as well as a new maintenance and assembly centre for low carbon vehicles.
Geoff Tomlinson, FSEW managing director, said: “As Wales’ leading privately-owned freight forwarding company and one of the fastest-growing businesses in Wales, we are keen to play a leading role in ensuring that the freight industry tackles carbon emissions. “Our journey began two-and-a-half years ago, and it is one in which the whole business is engaged. If our new electric trucks perform as they should – and we’re fully confident of that following a painstaking evaluation programme – then we’ll be looking to order another 10.
“We have received valuable support from the Welsh Government to help fund initial charging infrastructure. Our plans to develop the first eFreight hub in Europe will ensure that freight reaching Wales by rail can reach depots, suppliers and ultimately customers using low carbon vehicles from the beginning to the end of the journey, a vital step in tackling climate change.
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As well as our in-depth early morning newsletter, we will be sending out regular breaking news email alerts. “Our plans depend on identifying a location with proximity to the rail freight terminal in Wentloog and with efficient access to the electricity grid and connecting cables.
We are in close dialogue with Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government to identify potential sites and look forward to working with them to drive this crucial change across the commercial transport sector. “As a business owner involved in road transport, and as a father of two small children, I have a huge opportunity, and an obligation, to make a positive impact on our environment, and I’m enormously excited at the prospect of leading the switch to zero-emissions transport.” FSEW has been assisted by the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP), which provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms.
The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
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