“The trip has gone very well and without problems at all. The train arrived in Malmö one hour before the estimated time. There was some track work there, so a bit of a queue to get changed to a locomotive from Deutsche Bahn, but from there it went smoothly. This has been a successful test run,” said general manager Erlend Pekeberg on the phone from Padborg.
A good deal of salmon will continue to Poland for filleting, but also some to the south in Europe. Nor-log was worried as to whether it would be possible to fill the train with enough salmon. They managed this on Friday in collaboration with eight Norwegian exporters, all of whom were kept updated by Pekeberg over the weekend.
“They are very happy that it went so well, and that you can perform in such an efficient way. We left Narvik at 21:00 on Friday, and are in Padborg at 14:00 on Sunday. Only trains can do that,” he said.
Nor-log will now evaluate the test trip to see what can be done differently, and get the exporters on board. Not least, they must secure enough equipment to complete this route in the future. The next trip is planned for Friday over New Year.
“It has been tough to scrape together as much material as we have done to fill the train. Cars and trolleys are challenging to obtain, not least to get enough supplies north. The round trip for a trolley lasts for almost a week. It requires a lot of material for such an investment. We hope more group loaders will join the train, so that as many trolleys are needed as needed,” said Pekeberg.
CargoNet depends on having an almost full train before it becomes sustainable. The steep climb up Bjørnfjell means that the locomotive can only tow trolleys corresponding to a maximum of 20 semi-trailers with fish.
“We should have between 16 and 20 cars to get good utilization so that this becomes a future fixed route. The whitefish industry also thinks this is very interesting. They also have challenges in getting cars. The timing of a salmon train like this is now very positive,” concludes a rain-soaked and satisfied leader in Nor-log Thermo Erlend Pekeberg.