Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Imerys Minerals Ltd (CHT 12)


  1.  Imerys Minerals despatch a weekly 1,000 tonne train of industrial minerals from Cornwall to a Distribution Centre near Alessandra, Italy. Additional traffic to Italian Customers who are connected to rail is covered by occasional wagon load freight.

  2.  The Channel Tunnel is a key element in the supply chain. The disruption caused by illegal immigrants has had the following impact:

  2.1  Two trains "lost". To maintain supply, products were despatched by road direct and combined road/sea/road at extra cost.

  2.2  Returning empty wagons destined for re-load have failed to arrive on schedule resulting in overtime for delayed loading, and cost for moving wagons from the UK based fleet into the Continental fleet.

  2.3  Increase in inventories due to uncertainties in the supply chain. This applies to the Italian store and our rail served UK store.

  2.4  Much management time has been taken to reorganise deliveries, manpower and documentation.

  2.5  Total additional cost to date amounts to £15,000.

  3.  The robustness of the UK—Continental rail service has been severely harmed not only by the issue of illegal immigrants, but the length of time taken to resolve the issue and ensure normal services.

  3.1  On a scale of one to 10, the confidence level of the existing international rail service is rated four.

  3.2  Domestic services would at present be rated at eight.

  3.3  Confidence in international rail's ability to maintain service in the future is not good, rating level two.

  4.  The Italian train allows despatch of multi-products on a fairly short lead time. For this reason we will continue to support rail until we are faced with regular service failures. Should this happen we will switch to a mix of road direct and combined road/sea/road.

  4.1  A decision on servicing one other European Customer direct from Cornwall, using full train loads has been deferred until year end, partly due to Channel Tunnel uncertainty.

  5.  Without the dedication of EWS International our traffic via the Channel Tunnel would have ceased months ago.

  5.1  The Rail Freight Group has spent much time and effort campaigning on behalf of members and should be congratulated.

Derek Yeo Esq

International Rail/UK Road Manager

30 May 2002

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