Head of Global Logistics and Wholesale Operations
Welwyn Garden City
6 Jan 2017
The Trans-Siberian railway opens-up a new option for delivering our products to the UK.
With 75 countries across four continents supplying us with everything from bananas to kitchenware, our network of ships, lorries and trains are always on the go. Each year, more than 65,000 containers arrive at our distribution centres from outside the UK. It takes a global effort to keep everything on track.
We’re always looking at new ways to transport goods. We consider safety, environmental issues and the cost. The Trans-Siberian Railway is over 5,700 miles and crosses eight countries. The trip allows us to get our goods from producer to Tesco in 26 days. Rail is the second-most environmentally friendly way to transport goods behind sea freight. Rail transportation is also only 20% of what it would cost to transport by air. By using rail we’re reducing our carbon footprint. We're also speeding up our delivery and reducing costs for the customer.
Our containers are loaded door-to-door so nobody can open them without lifting them off the train. We don’t send anyone through high-risk areas but our freight does travel along lines which need armed guards to go with the cargo. The freight travels from China into Kazakhstan, across the Russian border to Moscow and through Europe via Belarus, Poland and Germany. Once the load hits Central Europe, it's transferred from the train to a lorry and driven the rest of the way to the UK. We’ve GPS trackers on the containers, which track their movement across the globe. We also monitor temperature, light and whether the cargo is opened.
The new route has opened several more options that will help us to import stock more efficiently. The most important thing is to make sure we have products on the shelves for our customers. People may not realise that there’s so much that goes on between leaving the factory and ending up in our stores. So next time you pick up an imported product from our shelves, take a moment to consider the journey it’s been on to get there.