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Jula shuttle: 10 years of sustainable logistics

lennart-karlsson-jula-600September marks the tenth anniversary of the start of the successful Jula shuttle. APM Terminals spoke with Lennart Karlsson, CEO of Jula Logistics AB, about their future plans and the successful model behind the rail shuttle. 

Tell us about how the Jula shuttle came to be. 

In 2013, Jula launched an ambitious climate initiative with the aim of transferring more freight transport from road to rail. We started on a small scale, with only Jula’s own volumes. We quickly saw the potential, and after a few years we expanded our cooperation to more companies. By around 2018, we had succeeded in building up a broad customer base and increased volumes. At that time, we made the decision to acquire the railway terminal in Falköping, buy more land and establish more railroad tracks and terminals to cope with the major growth. Since 2018, we have expanded to include five train tracks and three new terminal areas. 

What a journey it's been! What are your plans for the future? 

Our focus on investing in improving the environment remains strong and we are currently working intensively to build our own charging station for our electric trucks next to the terminal. This will enable us to offer our customers a completely climate-neutral logistics chain in which the bulk of the volume is transported by train and then travels the last bit to the customer by electric truck. In Jula Logistics’ own central warehouse we have invested in 60,000 square metres of solar cells, so we are electrically self-sufficient. The prerequisites for switching to electric trucks are optimal and we expect our entire fleet to be electric within five years.  

It has been a tough period characterised by significantly lower volumes than usual. When do you see a turnaround? 

We have been hit hard by low import volumes, but we are now seeing a positive trend. We have used this challenging period to invest and expand to offering more shuttles and larger warehouses, as a means of paving the way for substantial expansion. As early as May next year, our new 80,000 square metre warehouse is expected to be completed. Exports of Swedish basic industry are getting stronger and we believe that we have a very interesting product to meet the increasing demand. In 2024–2025, we expect to increase to up to 12–13 circuits a week.  

What are the success factors behind the Jula shuttle? 

Our close cooperation with Falköping Municipality has played a crucial role, as has our partnership with and proximity to APM Terminals in Gothenburg. Initially, the short distance for rail transport was seen as a potential challenge, but it has turned out to be an advantage. Together with APM Terminals, we are shaping the most efficient solutions that simplify logistics for a very large number of companies. By also running the terminal and the flow ourselves, we have been able to shape our solutions and dare to invest in realising our vision. 

The Jula shuttle is celebrating ten successful years of moving freight from trucks to trains. CEO Lennart Karlsson highlights their growth from a small start to a large network of companies. Despite challenges from low import volumes the last year, Jula Logistics remains committed to invest in environmental improvement, switching to electric trucks, and increasing the number of shuttles to and from APM Terminals Gothenburg. 

Their focus on environmental sustainability continues, with transition to electric trucks to offer a climate-neutral logistics chain. 

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