GB Railfreight (GBRf) and Drax have agreed to extend their contract to transport supplies of sustainable biomass from UK ports to Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire until 2025.
Teams at GBRf have worked closely with Drax for the past decade to maintain the supplies of sustainable biomass needed for the UK’s largest power station to continue generating the flexible and reliable renewable power for millions of UK homes and businesses. This deal is critical to Drax’s global biomass supply chain and another step on its journey to negative emissions.
Drax supplies 11% of the UK’s renewable electricity. Using sustainable biomass instead of coal at Drax Power Station has reduced emissions by more than 80% and helped the UK power system decarbonise faster than any other country in Europe.
Under the terms of the contract, GBRf will run all of Drax tonnage from the Ports of Tyne and Liverpool to Drax Power Station.
The partnership between GBRf and Drax dates back to 2010 when GBRf began moving biomass by rail from the Port of Tyne. Originally, GBRf used wagons that had been converted from coal hoppers by adding lids and these remain in use under the new contract. As Drax converted more of its coal units at the power station to sustainable biomass, Drax invested in new purpose-built biomass wagons that are larger and therefore more efficient at carrying the pellets.
In the past year, the longstanding relationship between Drax and GBRf has helped overcome challenges such as the local floods in February to the Drax branch line and then the Covid-19 crisis, ensuring continuous flows of biomass that helped keep the power station running and the lights on in Britain.
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said:
“I am delighted to be continuing GB Railfreight’s ongoing partnership with Drax. We will continue to deliver vital supplies of sustainable biomass for a further five years, ensuring power is generated in a clean and sustainable way as well as reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.
“The announcement also comes at a time of great economic uncertainty for our country. We at GBRf remain committed to getting the UK economy back on track and having worked with Drax over the last few months during testing times I know we will continue to work closely in the months and years to come as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.”
Mike Maudsley, UK Portfolio Generation Director at Drax said:
“GBRf’s rail deliveries are a critical part of our global supply chain for sustainable biomass that supports thousands of jobs and has delivered economic growth across the north of England, while supplying renewable electricity to millions of homes and businesses.
“We’re very pleased to extend our existing contract with GBRf for another five years and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the team.”