Grocery Chain Starts Rail-Based Distribution
The Swedish grocery chain Hemköp and their distributor DAGAB have teamed up
with the national railway to develop a flexible rail-based delivery system with low
Hemköp, with it's smiling sun logo, profiles itself
as being the most caring supermarket chain in Sweden. They don't sell eggs from hens in
cages and their meats are exclusively Swedish, which is seen as a guarantee against gene
manipulation and such.
Hemköp and its distributor DAGAB, wanted to
make their transports more environmentally friendly but of course disliked the idea of
being restricted to expensive intermodal service.
Their solution was rudimentary: equip each train with a forklift and get the train driver to
operate it. This does away with cranes, elaborate terminals, and does not require truck
drivers to spend downtime sitting in a train (as is most often the case with so-called
Rollende Landstrasse or rolling highway trains).
The train effectively becomes a
self-contained transport system, which loads and unloads freight wherever there's room.
Trucks then drive the groceries straight to the store. (Right photo by Jan Lindahl)
The freight division of SJ has for several years tried to zeroe in on custom solutions for
companies with big, recurring transport flows, and this setup is the latest example of its
success in this endeavour. However, SJ Gods has
not moved fast enough away from the carload freight which it has failed to make profitable,
and this has marred performance. In 1995, SJ Gods made its first profit for 20 years, but a
downturn in the market returned SJ Gods to a loss in 1996.