Friday, December 18, 2009

FTA Makes Recommendations On Future UK Rail Freight Terminals

Time for Hard Choices
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has added its weight to the discussions concerning the future of the UK’s freight model by publishing a report on its recommendations for the provision of rail freight depots in the UK.

The ‘Rail Freight Terminals policy document’ has been commissioned so as to identify those regions within the country that would benefit most from bigger rail freight terminals which in turn should reduce road freight haulage and assist in Britain meeting its climate change obligations.

The FTA states a typical freight train can remove 50 lorries from Britain’s roads, with every tonne of freight carried by rail producing 80 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than if moved by road.

Chris MacRae, the organisation’s Rail Freight Policy Manager, said: “Without rail freight terminals we do not have a hope of meaningfully reducing the number of lorries on our congested roads. Greater rail freight capacity is, quite simply, a pre-requisite if we are to meet the need for moving goods sustainably in the UK. Ignoring this need is akin to asking for more passenger train services without providing platforms for people to stand on.”

The FTA points out that there is an unfortunate trend developing in British society for the public to become increasingly vocal on its wish for freight to be moved from roads onto railways, but that when proposals are put forward to develop the necessary links for such modal changes they are often hindered or stopped by public protest.

Along with publishing its recommendations the FTA is calling on the decision makers to stick by hard choices that are imperative if any sort of change in the UK’s structure is to take place.

MacRae continued: “We have worked hard to ensure our strategy is robust and practical. This document will add objectivity to the debate as it assesses purely the ‘need’ for terminal development and will give planning authorities a quantifiable starting point to base their decisions on.

“The Government is spending millions upgrading rail lines, and retailers and manufacturers are working to adjust their logistics arrangements to incorporate rail. But none of this will help if the freight cannot get on and off the network at the right place.”

Anyone wishing to obtain a copy of the FTA’s report can contact Chris MacRae at:

 (Those seeking information or services on UK rail freight should see or Rail Freight Directory