Eurotunnel brought 3 new freight shuttle carriers for lorries into service at the end of April. They will provide 20% more capacity and mean that Eurotunnel can offer up to 8 departures an hour at peak times instead of the current 6.
With a cost of 40 million euros, this could be seen as a strong investment in the future. The order is supported by a €30 million programme of investments in the expansion of the terminals in Folkestone and Coquelles which will ensure the fluidity of traffic across the Eurotunnel site.
Each carrier is 800m long with 32 flat carrier wagons, three loading wagons and a coach for the lorry drivers. The hope is that they are more aerodynamic, and much lighter than the previous generations.
Demand for Eurotunnel’s Le Shuttle freight service between France and the UK is expected to grow as a result of many companies attempting to reduce their carbon footprint. Eurotunnel aim to be transporting two million trucks a year by 2020.
Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SE, said:”With the entry into service of three new freight shuttles, for the first time since January 1999 Eurotunnel starts a new phase of its development by offering, on top of the speed of crossing, an unrivalled frequency of departure.”
The shuttles went through a rigorous final testing phase in February, consisting of 80 loaded and uninterrupted crossings through the tunnel. A shuttle was loaded with 32 trucks, each filled up with water containers, so that each weighed between 36 and 39 tonnes, to create a realistic test environment.
Michel Boudoussier, Chief Operating Officer – Concession of Groupe Eurotunnel stated: “As the world leader in the rolling motorway industry, Eurotunnel has been able to draw upon its 20 years of experience in the design of these 3rd generation Shuttles. The consultation that we led confirmed that we are at the leading edge of railway development”.