Major rail freight operator appointed to UK’s £1bn largest logistics development

The UK’s largest logistics development has appointed an operator to its strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) on the West Coast Mainline.

Maritime Transport has signed the deal for the West Midlands Interchange (WMI) contract with Oxford Properties Group and developer Logistics Capital Partners. The joint venture acquired the 734-acre site in 2021 and is delivering the biggest rail-served logistics development in the UK.

Employing 3,000 staff across 40 sites and rail terminals, Maritime is the largest, privately owned, intermodal (road/rail) logistics operator in the UK, turning over £400m a year.

It will operate the SRFI, which will sit alongside 8m sq ft of prime warehouse facilities at the £1bn WMI project and has submitted a planning application for its site offices.

Maritime says it’s increasing its container movements by rail from 6% in 2019 to more than 24% in 2023 and preparing for the introduction of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).

Work has begun on site comprising significant earthworks, highways construction, water installation and the creation of two new community parks. Phase 1 of the WMI will see the construction of six logistics units totalling a combined 2.7m sq ft of space. 

James Boadle, Senior Vice President at Oxford Properties said: “This next step to create the leading intermodal logistics facility in the UK’s Golden Triangle is a significant one. Maritime are the leaders in their field, and WMI is the leading logistics development in the country – the two coming together will deliver a significant boost to the regional and national Economy.

“Demand for best-in-class logistics space that’s sustainable and well connected continues to significantly outstrip supply. With WMI poised to reduce up to 50 million kilometres of HGV traffic annually, today marks yet another milestone for a project that exemplifies both Oxford’s conviction in UK logistics, and our commitment to ESG.”

James Markby, Managing Partner at LCP said: “Our agreement with Maritime, securing them as the long-term SRFI operator, demonstrates great confidence in the strategic success of West Midlands Interchange. The project is key to decarbonising UK logistics, with rail freight producing up to 70% less CO 2 emissions compared to road freight and a leading operator like Maritime will ensure it lives up to its potential.”

John Williams, Group Executive Chairman of Maritime, said: “As the leading road and rail freight logistics provider in the UK, West Midlands Interchange is the obvious next addition to our rail network.

“Being the long-term operator of WMI fits exactly with our wider strategy of decarbonising the full load supply chain by moving cargo closer to the end user by rail”.

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