VW Group-owned SEAT says it has taken a step forward in its sustainability “Move to Zerø” strategy with a new rail service linking its Martorell (Spain) plant with the Volkswagen Autoeuropa factory in Palmela (Portugal).
As of this month, this service operates once a week, and is expected to transport more than 20,000 vehicles per year, which SEAT says will avoid 2,400 truck journeys and reduce CO2 emissions by 43%.
Vehicles produced in Martorell were previously transported by train to Salobral (Madrid) and then delivered from there by truck to dealerships. With this new line, the vehicles will arrive directly at the Palmela factory, from where they will be transported by truck one last time to the distribution depot in Azambuja, 75 km away. The return train journey will take vehicles manufactured in Palmela to the Port of Barcelona, from where they will be distributed by road to different regions of Spain, the South of France and by ship to destinations in the Mediterranean.
“The train is an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and efficient means of transport, which is why this new service between the Martorell and Palmela factories helps us make progress in our aim to reduce the carbon footprint of vehicle transport and brings us closer to our goal of logistical sustainability,” says Herbert Steiner, Vice-President for Production and Logistics at SEAT S.A. “This project is part of the ‘One Production’ strategy of Volkswagen Group factories on the Iberian Peninsula, which seeks to optimize resources, generate synergies between production centres and boost efficiency.”
The new train service, operated by Pecovasa Renfe Mercancías, is made up of 16 wagons, has a maximum length of 500 metres, and will be able to transport up to 184 vehicles per journey. From 2023, it is planned that the train will have two additional carriages and run up to 550 metres in length, enabling around 200 carriages to be transported.
Eliminating 2,400 road journeys will mean a reduction of almost 1,000 tonnes of CO2. By 2024, emission neutrality will be achieved with the arrival of hybrid locomotives that will allow electricity to be used on 100% of the route.
This new rail route complements the Autometro rail service, which connects the Martorell plant with the Port of Barcelona for vehicle exports. SEAT exports more than 80% of the cars it manufactures in Martorell, and with the rail transport service the company eliminates the circulation of some 25,000 trucks a year on the stretch of road from Martorell to the Port of Barcelona. With double-decker articulated transport wagons, capacity for 170 vehicles and a length of 411 meters, it has transported almost 1.3 million vehicles and has reduced road traffic by more than 300,000 lorry journeys since its inauguration in 2008.
In order to continue promoting sustainable logistics and innovate in different transport systems, in July SEAT S.A. launched the first megatruck for vehicle transport in Spain. This is a service between Martorell and the Port of Barcelona that offers an annual transport volume of more than 8,600 vehicles. This type of truck has a total length of 25.25 meters for a load of 10-11 cars, three cars more than a conventional four-axle truck. Thanks to its capacity, it eliminates 500 lorry journeys per year and reduces CO2 emissions by 5.2 tonnes a year.
“Move to Zerø” project
The circulation of this new rail service moves SEAT S.A. forward in its “Move to Zerø” project, which aims to achieve emission neutrality in all its production processes. This pillar is part of the Volkswagen Group’s global corporate mission, which aims to minimize the environmental impact of all products and mobility solutions during their lifecycle, from raw material procurement and production to end-of-life.
“Move to Zerø” is aligned with the company’s sustainability commitment to reach the environmental goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The focus is on achieving a zero-carbon footprint by 2050, reducing CO2 emissions per vehicle in Europe by 40% by 2030 and accelerating the transition to electric mobility.