The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says it is optimistic that the Government’s new Rail Freight Strategy will incentivise the logistics sector and rail industry to work together on new intermodal models to relieve pressure on Britain’s road network.
The strategy, which is published today, sets out the Department for Transport’s vision for how rail freight can continue to grow despite the decline of traditional core markets such as coal and challenges including reduced Channel Tunnel traffic due to migrant activity at Calais.
FTA is a member of the Rail Freight Strategy Advisory Group and has had input during the development of the strategy. Chris MacRae, FTA’s Head of Rail Freight Policy, said: “The strategy highlights the environmental benefits of a greater modal shift from road to rail and recognises the scope for rail and the wider freight industries to collaborate and explore innovative new models.
“However, rail freight is just one part of the logistics chain and it is vital that we maximise use of all modes of transport including road and water in order to make the UK’s supply chain as efficient, clean and safe as possible.”
The rail freight industry already brings benefits to the UK economy estimated at £1.6 billion a year in productivity gains for UK businesses, reduced road congestion and environmental benefits. Each tonne of freight transported by rail reduced carbon emissions by 76 per cent compared to road and each freight train removes up to 73 lorries from our roads.
Mr MacRae said rail had the potential for considerable growth in deep sea intermodal markets if investment in a strategic freight network continued to enable capacity and capability.
“To win more domestic retail intermodal business, the rail industry needs to address the challenges laid out in FTA’s Agenda for More Freight by Rail publication with cost reduction, faster end-to-end journeys and better network access,” he said.
The DfT’s Rail Freight Strategy can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rail-freight-transport
FTA’s Agenda for More Freight by Rail publication can be seen at http://www.fta.co.uk/export/sites/fta/_galleries/downloads/rail_freight/14094_agenda_for_more_guide.pdf