SCOTLAND’S largest container port is investing £3 million in its rail freight operation ahead of Brexit to help maintain an “efficient free flowing supply chain.”

The Port of Grangemouth, which handles more than 155,000 containers and £6 billion worth of goods a year, said the investment would significantly scale up and modernise its current rail capacity.

By creating an extended dual rail siding of 775 metres – more than three times the current 200 metres – Grangemouth will be the first rail freight terminal in Scotland capable of handling the longest freight trains on the UK network.

“As the UK prepares to leave the EU single market and the customs union, the freight sector is looking at ways to maintain an efficient free flowing supply chain,” said Derek Knox, senior port manager at The Port of Grangemouth. “With the new rail offering combined with our established port operations and streamlined customs processes, the freight hub we are creating provides a unique solution.”

There are regular container services from Grangemouth with frequent daily sailings to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Felixstowe and Hamburg. Goods including steel plate, timber, paper and equipment for the oil and gas industry pass through the port. The increased rail capacity would help to take trucks off the UK’s congested roads as well as lowering customers’ carbon footprint, the port said.

The extended facility is expected to be operational in January and will provide enhanced transport options, particularly for customers in the food, drink and perishables sectors across the Scottish freight community, it added.

Grangemouth is one of eight UK commercial ports owned and operated by Edinburgh-based Forth Ports, including Tilbury on the Thames, Dundee on the Firth of Tay and Rosyth, Kirkcaldy, Methil and Burntisland in Fife. Tilbury has also invested £10m in its rail facilities.