© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Tesco logo is pictured outside a Tesco supermarket in Hatfield, Britain, Oct. 6, 2020. REUTERS / Peter Cziborra / File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain's largest retailer Tesco (OTC 🙂 plans to expand its use of a train service to bring goods into the country from Spain, which has helped it cut emissions and protect deliveries due to the shortage of truckers, said his CEO told Reuters.
Ken Murphy said in an interview for the upcoming Reuters Impact conference that the past three months have been "quite challenging" but the supermarket has done well due to its close relationships with suppliers and detailed planning.
The group has also started bringing fruit and vegetables from Spain into the country with a refrigerated rail service to reduce the number of trucks on the roads and guarantee deliveries.
From 65,000 containers per year on the rails, Tesco has set itself the goal of increasing this number to 90,000 containers by November or December.
"We are one of the few, if not the only food retailers in the UK that make extensive use of the railways," he said. “That helped us with the truck challenges in the summer.
"To put it in context: By transporting 65,000 by rail, we save around 22 million kilometers of road annually."
The UK has been hit by an acute shortage of truckers this year, and some retailers and oil companies warned this month that they were struggling to maintain full service.
In addition, many leading companies are either under pressure to lower their emissions targets or, like Tesco, have planned to do so.
Murphy said that despite the challenges, Tesco did a "fantastic" job getting groceries into stores without allowing food waste to increase.
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