The UK port of Felixstowe has recorded 17,211 teu of rail movements in a single week - the hub’s busiest rail week ever.

Felixstowe currently operates two open-access, common-user rail terminals while a third rail has been under construction since March 2012.

The news will give some cheer to the port’s operators as they prepare for stiff competition from London Gateway, the DP World-funded port due to open in 2013 and described by Felixstowe’s management as a ’massive threat’.

David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK), which owns Felixstowe, commented: “These record-breaking volumes have come at a fundamental time, as the government considers the upgrades to the rail network it will procure over the next five years.

"Whilst a number of works on the Felixstowe to Nuneaton connection have already been completed, these record figures highlight the importance of a strong rail network nationwide, as rail freight becomes an ever more popular method of goods movement."

Co-financed by the European Union from the Trans-European Network budget, the new North Rail Terminal is designed to handle 30-wagon long freight trains, each capable of carrying 90 teu.

The port already moves 750,000 teu per year by rail and the new terminal will eventually more than double its capacity for intermodal traffic.

“These volumes highlight customer confidence in the rail facilities at Felixstowe, consolidating our position as the port-of-choice for UK importers, and justifying beyond question both the investments we have been making, and those required in the future," added Glenhill.

Rail freight services at Felixstowe are offered by Freightliner, GB Railfreight and DB Schenker. Daily connections are available to and from Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Cleveland, Birmingham, Doncaster, Tilbury, Selby, Hams Hall, Wakefield, Ditton (Widnes), Birch Coppice, Scunthorpe and Bristol.

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