A Guide to Rail Freight in the UK

Rail Freight

Rail freight refers to the transportation of goods by train, such as agriculture, automotive, chemicals, and raw construction material. This type of transportation has been steadily increasing, with the total volume of goods transported rising by 3% each year. Rail freight has been forecasted to grow by 30% by 2035.


How does Rail Freight work?

The containers used are compatible with both rail and road freight (multimodal), which means there is no need to unload and reload at the different transit points. This allows the process to become streamlined, with the container simply lifted from the train and into the truck.

Rail Freight Containers

The cargo transported by rail is handled as bulk cargo, which means it is transported unpackaged and in large quantities.

Full Container Load (FCL): This form of packing involves paying for an entire container and dedicating all the space inside to your shipment of goods. FCL offers flexibility and a high frequency of transportation, but you must be able to pay for and accommodate the full container. This option is suitable if you are transporting a large number of goods and has less risk of damage as the container will contain just your goods.

Less-Than-Container Load (LCL): This is more appropriate for those looking to import a small number of goods that will not require a full container’s worth of stock. In less-than-container load shipping, the freight forwarder will combine your supplier’s goods with others doing the same thing, in order to make a full shipment.

Benefits of Rail Freight


Benefits to Rail Freight

Rail freight offers multiple benefits – particularly in comparison to air, sea and road freight alternatives.

  • Great Britain and Scotland have a strong competitive rail freight market, with experienced operators and logistics providers available to help.
  • A high level of security ensures that thefts are very rare, as it is difficult for criminals to get close to a train and unload from a container.
  • More environmentally sustainable, as it is often electrically powered and involves the transportation of high volumes in a single trip.
  • Unlike road freight, trains do not get stuck in congestion and are usually not affected by delays or breakdowns. It is therefore much more reliable.


How long does Rail Freight take?

The exact length of time it takes to ship freight by rail will depend on numerous factors, such as the type of cargo, chosen freight forwarder, shopping location, and whether the shipment is door-to-door. For example shipments from China to the UK take between 18 and 24 days. This is faster than sea freight shipping and more cost-effective than air freight. From Turkey to the UK, rail freight takes between 8 and 14 days.

The route from China is across central Asia and Eastern Europe before reaching the UK. One of the most common routes sees the train pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France and then through the Eurotunnel to reach the UK.


Rail Freight with KG Logistics

KG Logistics offers a comprehensive and efficient rail freight service to various locations around the world. We have built up excellent business relationships with overseas partners, which make it possible to provide our clients with the peace of mind they are after when shipping goods to destinations across the globe.


Speak to our experts today on 01634 540109 to find out how KG Logistics can help you with your freight forwarding needs.