Thursday, October 22, 2020

HS2 Fights Back to Justify its Place in the Future of Logistics - Including Freight Opportunities

New Video Links to Port to Explain the Benefits to Cargo Community and Environment
Shipping News Feature

UK – The HS2 project has come under fire lately from all sides. The gigantic scheme has seen everyone from environmentalists to rail experts, and indeed even the Public Accounts Committee, criticise the damage to habitat and burgeoning costs. From the logistics point of view the line, being high speed, will not be particularly suitable for the carriage of freight, however now the arguments to support the project are taking shape.

This week HS2 has released a video highlighting how the additional capacity HS2 will create on Britain’s existing rail network will benefit UK ports and distribution centres that use rail freight for the movement of goods. The Port of Tilbury is the scene for the film which emphasises that the transfer of passenger traffic to the new line frees up slots on the traditional route for cargo of all types. Ben Rule, Infrastructure Management Director, HS2 Ltd said:

“Building HS2 is the best way to increase capacity for rail freight on Britain’s existing rail network. Giving the UK’s ports the ability to transport more goods using rail will take lorries of the roads, reducing carbon emissions from transport, and will help us achieve a greener future for Britain.”

The Port of Tilbury is the largest port on the River Thames spanning 1,100-acres and incorporating the London Container Terminal and a new port complex, Tilbury2, which together handle over 500,000 containers and trailers per year for import and export. Tilbury2 also has a dedicated construction material and aggregates terminal (CMAT), capable of handling in excess of five million tonnes of bulk product per annum.

With the development of Tilbury2, including its two rail terminals capable of handling the longest freight trains, the port is future proofed as the drive to reduce carbon emissions gathers pace, and it has scope for significant increases in both unitised and bulk cargo flows. Speaking in the video about the benefit of HS2 to UK ports, Carole Cran, CFO of Forth Ports said:

“HS2 will give us the headroom to grow our network of low carbon delivery routes. By building a new rail line, HS2 takes fast trains off the existing railway and places them on their own dedicated tracks. This allows local and freight trains to run at similar speeds on the existing lines, freeing up space across the network for many more passenger and freight services, so there are benefits for everyone, not just those who will travel on HS2.”

It is claimed that HS2 will remove the need for thousands of truck journeys with each train carrying the equivalent load of 76 HGVs, amounting to a speculative 1.63 billion kilometres annually. The company has also has put up a new animation ‘HS2: Upgrading freight Britain’ to drive home its points. Support came from Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price who said:

“HS2 is the largest infrastructure project in Europe. It will bring a significant increase in rail capacity to the benefit of the whole UK. HS2 will free up capacity on existing lines to enable the transport of more rail freight including from major ports like Tilbury in my constituency. I fully endorse Tilbury’s push to grow its low carbon delivery model, with rail at its heart. Whether it’s food, medical supplies, or building materials, as we build back better, Tilbury will continue to play its critical role for the nation.”

Photo: The Port of Tilbury has its own rail terminal and Tilbury 2 has increased its capacity.