Freight News, Rail

Rail body asks the freight industry: are we on the right lines?

[ July 5, 2022   //   ]

The Transition Team at Great British Railways – the government body that runs the country’s national system – is calling for views and ideas from stakeholders on how to expand rail freight.

GBRTT estimates that rail currently accounts for just 10% of surface freight but delivers social and economic benefits worth £2.5 billion to the UK each year including 76% less carbon emissions.

It says that a freight growth target will act as a catalyst for investment in the rail freight sector by setting a clear government ambition for growth and help greenhouse gas reduction targets and reduce the number of lorries on the road.

GBRTT programme director Helen McAllister, said: “Research suggests we could need to treble the amount of freight carried by rail to help meet net zero commitments.

“This call for evidence will help us understand how much of the current and future market demand for freight could be met by rail, how we can make it even more efficient and sustainable and how we can connect to new customers.”

Policy director at Logistics UK, Kate Jennings, added: “When passenger numbers dropped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, focus across the rail industry shifted to rail freight. But now, with passenger numbers returning, our sector will require support and investment to respond to customer demand. Logistics UK welcomes the Government’s commitment to establishing a rail freight growth target and is urging its members to respond to this Call for Evidence to ensure the resulting plans for the future of rail freight are clear and ambitious.”

The call for evidence will help GBRTT to understand the realistic volume of goods that could be transferred to rail; where the potential for future rail freight traffic exists and where new terminals could be needed, building on the Department for Transport and Industry’s joint Future of Freight long-term plan, published in early June.

This call for evidence is launched on 5 July and will be open for 12 weeks, until 27 September.

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