Friday, March 15, 2013

Incentive for Container Freight to Make Modal Shift from Road Haulage to Shipping by Water

Intermodal Exchange Scheme for SME's Extended from Rail Cargo
Shipping News Feature

UK – Almost exactly one year ago we wrote a detailed report on how the formation of the Haven Gateway Partnership’s Low Carbon Freight Dividend (LCFD) scheme meant offerings of £75 for each freight container transferring from road to rail in a £7.5 million intermodal shift project designed to lower fuel take up and pollution levels. With an initial objective of removing 30,000 road haulage movements from the country’s highways in the first three years the East of England based project has just taken another financial leap forward.

After an initial funding of almost £3 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) a new tranche of money, £370,000 from the same source, has, with matched funding taken the LCFD coffers up to a total of over £8.4 million in a bid to extend the scheme to water borne traffic in addition to rail.

The new parameters mean that eligible small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) which qualify can now claim up to 30% in dividends (capped at £75/box) for making a modal shift from road to rail or water, both inland and ocean freight qualifying. The scheme management team calculate that another 3,700 boxes could disappear from roads in the Eastern region as a result of the extension.

News of the move came in a speech from Ipswich MP Ben Gummer made during a conference of the European Union Port Integration Project, hosted by the Haven Gateway in Ipswich, one of the five local ports which make up the organisation. Mr Gummer said:

“I am delighted to announce the extension of this ground-breaking project, which is fantastic news for SME's and fantastic news for the environment. The original project, for shifting boxes from road to rail, was expected to remove at least 11.7 million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide from the logistics supply chain over the three-year life of the project. By adding the water element, the project will remove a further 1.4 million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide and encourage SME's to take up the low-carbon, congestion-free option of freight by water.”

This extension makes absolute sense given the location of the project, and with short sea links from the ports involved utilising feeder and ferry services, plus access to inland waterways which need further development, the scheme will doubtless continue to prove successful at diverting the existing traffic to a more eco friendly modal method. With SME’s able to claim a maximum of 90 allowances the scheme remains manageable and can offer a total of almost £7,000 in benefits to the best suited businesses. LCFD project manager Lisa Brazier clearly retains enthusiasm for the scheme as well as welcoming the latest development saying:

“Alongside this, we will continue to run our LCFD workshops in freight optimisation and low carbon marketing to support a longer-term switch. The workshops provide advice, guidance and practical examples of how to reduce carbon emissions in the movement of freight. The LCFD project also incorporates our unique web based Containerised Cargo Carbon Calculator, where companies can compare and contrast cargo movement methods and the carbon emissions for each method helping them to make ‘green’ choices.”

Photo: Some people will do just about anything to get a grant.