Freight News, Rail, Sea

Industry welcomes port links study

[ April 26, 2018   //   ]

Freight industry groups have welcomed a Port Connectivity study by the Government, announced on 24 April.

The UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG), which represents gateways handling 75% of the country’s seaborne trade, said there would be significant value to the economy from making a step change in port connectivity and that key to realising was a more integrated strategy for the main trade enabling freight corridors.

UKMPG chair and ABP chief executive James Cooper, pointed out: “UK Major Ports Group members invest more than half a billion pounds a year in infrastructure. But for the UK to maximise the value of this investment for the nation these ports need to be well connected to the rest of the economy. The study’s recognition of the need to take a joined up, multi modal approach to key trade enabling freight corridors anchored on major ports is particularly welcome.”

Maritime minister, Nusrat Ghani, added: “Connectivity is wider than just a ports matter, but has implications for the wider business community and the economy…it can provide cost, productivity, and competitiveness benefits for wider business.”

Freight on rail manager at Campaign for Better Transport Philippa Edmunds, warned however: “This study is all very well, but we now need action  – the Government needs to get on and commit funding to these projects to make them happen. The strong benefit cost ratios for freight enhancements, should be factored into investment planning.”

Research commissioned by Campaign for Better Transport, sponsored by the DfT and mentioned in this study, demonstrated that upgrading the rail routes out of the two largest container ports, Southampton and Felixstowe, could remove 2,000 large HGVs each day from the A14 and A34.

Targeted rail freight investments work; within a year of the completion of the gauge upgrades on the A34 route out of Southampton, rail’s share of the market increased from 29 to 36%, it said showing that there is considerable suppressed demand for more rail freight services.

Saying its recommendations would help to support the case for further investment in the rail network to provide additional capacity and capability for rail growth.

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