REUTERS IMPACT Tesco lets UK-Spain train tackle trucker crisis
LONDON, Sept. 29 (Reuters) – Britain’s largest retailer Tesco (TSCO.L) plans to expand its use of a train service to bring goods from Spain to the country, which has helped it cut back emissions and to protect deliveries in the event of a truck driver shortage, its CEO told Reuters.
Ken Murphy said in an interview for the upcoming Reuters Impact conference that the past three months have been “pretty tough” but the supermarket has done well due to its close ties to suppliers and detailed planning.
The group has also started using a refrigerated rail service to bring fruit and vegetables into the country from Spain, helping to reduce the number of trucks on the roads and ensure deliveries.
From 65,000 containers per year on rail, Tesco aims to increase to 90,000 containers by November or December.
“We are one of the few if not the only grocery retailer in the UK to use rail a lot,” he said. “It helped us with the heavyweight challenges we had during the summer.
“To put it in context, by shipping 65,000 per train, we are saving approximately 22 million road kilometers per year.”
Britain has been hit by a severe shortage of truck drivers this year, with some retailers and oil companies warning this month they are struggling to maintain full services.
On top of that, many leading companies are either under pressure to lower emissions targets or, like Tesco, have made plans to do so. Read more
Murphy said despite the challenges, Tesco has done a “fantastic” job of getting food into stores while not allowing food waste to increase.
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Reporting by Kate Holton and James Davey; Editing by Nick Macfie
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