A PORT operator has launched a rail service connecting the Tees with Scotland to meet demand and open up further growth opportunities.

Teesport has launched its second rail service, which will be operated by DB Cargo and run five days a week from the quayside at Teesport, to PD Stirling Terminal at Mossend in Glasgow.

The service is timed to connect with the freight-only P&O Ferries service which calls daily at Teesport from Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, providing a key connection for shippers and shipping lines wanting frequent, flexible and efficient routes to market.

PD launched the first Scottish rail connection from Teesport in August 2015 and with the new service it now offers more direct daily connections to and from Scotland than any other port in the north of England, running 10 trains a week and carrying over 30 containers per journey each way laden with a variety of goods including food, drinks and furniture.

Many of the containers will be from the daily P&O service from Zeebrugge, which saw an increase in capacity of 25 per cent earlier this year in response to market demand for the Teesport-Scotland connection.

Frans Calje, CEO at PD Ports, said: “Our second rail service to Scotland is a major milestone for Teesport and the wider Tees Valley.

"It symbolises the tremendous sense of confidence and trust global shippers have in the port to deliver peace of mind, unlike other congested UK and European hub ports.

“Frequency and reliability is fundamental to the success of our customers’ existence.

"We have vessels arriving at Teesport from the Baltics every 30 hours and every 48 hours from Poland with direct rail connections from the quayside to Scotland twice a day, five days a week.

“This frequency breeds trust and confidence amongst shippers that they can transport their goods from Europe to Scotland within a 36 hour period, minimising cost and carbon emissions.”

Andrew Stirling, Managing Director at PD Stirling, commented: “This is excellent news for Scottish importers and exporters.

"It not only provides vital daily rail connections to and from the continent through Teesport, it also provides support to Scotland’s manufacturing base.

"This growth in rail transport with Teesport has led to firm plans to expand our facilities and to launch the MIRP (Mossend International Rail Freight Park).”

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, said: “Strong transport links are essential for a strong economy and this new service is fantastic news.

“Teesport is one of the deepest water ports on the East Coast of England and its facilities connect our industries to the world. It’s already an attractive prospect and an invaluable resource which has been made even better by this announcement, especially in ensuring we’re an outward-looking, global region able to take advantage of all the opportunities of Brexit.”

Teesport continues to see considerable growth year-on-year in container handling, growing faster than any other port last year.