Eurotunnel at 30: driving innovation for European road freight

3 July, 24
As Eurotunnel celebrates its 30th anniversary, one of its largest commercial users is marking 2,600 journeys through the tunnel every month – more than 30,000 annually.

As Eurotunnel celebrates its 30th anniversary, one of its largest commercial users is marking 2,600 journeys through the tunnel every month – more than 30,000 annually.

Europa Road, the dedicated European road freight division of Europa Worldwide Group, was one of the very first transport companies to establish express services into mainland Europe, and started using, LeShuttle Freight service, shortly after it opened in 1994.

It remains one of the greatest transportation innovations of a generation, being the longest undersea tunnel in the world, spanning 50km. Open 24/7, 365 days a year, LeShuttle Freight offers remarkable flexibility for frequent users like Europa Road, who transport a variety of time-critical groupage, part load and full load consignments from the UK’s largest groupage 1Hub in Dartford.

Cementing the UK’s trade ties with continental Europe, LeShuttle Freight offers the prospect of high-speed freight services, shorter journeys and a sophisticated IT/data transfer infrastructure allowing smooth border crossings.

A truck crossing the Channel on LeShuttle Freight our freight service emits 12 times less carbon emissions than by ferry. Through the use of its specific and bespoke IT integration, LeShuttle Freight’s infrastructure is customer-centric and easing trade burdens post-Brexit.

Dan Cook, Group Operations Director at Europa Worldwide Group, explained: “Eurotunnel opened access to new European markets for British businesses, offering faster transit times (of just 35 minutes compared to 90 minutes by ferry), fewer carbon emissions, and fewer disruptions associated with weather or traffic congestion at ferry ports.”

“There have of course been challenges along the way. Everything changed when the UK left the customs union and more complex border controls came into force after Brexit. Freight businesses transporting goods to the EU via France needed a more sophisticated IT infrastructure to improve operational efficiency, communication between stakeholders, and track & trace capabilities.”

To overcome these challenges, Europa invested over £10 million on its bespoke freight management software Leonardo. Developed in-house and managed by a global team of 100 experts, the system has expanded to provide customers across road, air and sea freight with enhanced management and consignment visibility and tracking.

Dan continues: “Since Brexit, we have been able to fully integrate Leonardo to transfer customs data directly into the LeShuttle Freight IT infrastructure and border-related service offering out to Border Control in France. The whole process, occurring multiple times a day, every day, is slick and paperless, making the transportation of goods reliable and efficient from start to finish.”

As a company constantly innovating to better support its customers, Europa Road is utilising LeShuttle Freight’s flexibility alongside its own technology to achieve a seamless transportation of goods.

This is further demonstrated by its Brexit solution Europa Flow, launched in 2021 following an investment of more than £5m, which was developed by Europa’s in-house team to remove the complexity associated with customs paperwork and duty payments.

Dan continues: “As an early adopter of LeShuttle Freight in 1994, which takes us between Folkestone and Calais via the Channel Tunnel, we were immediately able to reduce transit time, streamline our operations and operate more sustainably.

Carsten Pikkemaat, LeShuttle Freight Sales Director: “We’re delighted with the continued strong business partnership we’ve built over the years with Europa. We are looking forward to working together for many more years to come, making freight more flexible.”

Dan Cook concludes: “30 years on, this partnership has driven our own innovation, ensuring we can provide a seamless movement of goods for our customers. Europa Flow is a prime example of this, our ‘frictionless customs product’ is powered by the latest technology supporting the specialist delivery duty paid (DDP) service.”

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