Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More Money For Rail Freight Initiatives + Guidance on Intermodal Terminals

Government Speaks Out On Multimodal Future
Shipping News Feature

UK - Chancellor George Osborne today announced the Government would be investing £55m into the Strategic Rail Freight Network, as part of his Autumn Statement saying the funding would help deliver schemes that remove bottlenecks and improve capability and longer term connectivity to the UK's major ports. The proposals come at the same time as the publication by the Department for Transport (DfT) of Policy Guidance on Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFI’s), announced as part of The Logistics Growth Review which looks toward more intermodal exchanges between rail and road haulage services.

The increased in tonnage from road to rail has long been Government policy and the Guidance, announced in a joint written statement from the Secretary-of-State for Transport Justine Greening MP, and Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary-of-State for Communities and Local Government, was enthusiastically delivered before Parliament by Greening who said:

“The Government supports the transfer of freight from road to rail, where it is practical and economic to do so and fully recognises that rail freight can generate valuable benefits for society where it provides an alternative to road haulage. The Government believes that an expanded network of SRFIs, complemented by other freight interchanges and terminals, is needed to support longer-term development of efficient rail freight distribution logistics. Whilst SRFIs operate to serve regional and cross regional catchment areas, they are also key components in national and international networks.”

The £55 million announced by the Chancellor is primarily to open up routes to the deep sea ports like Felixstowe and Liverpool with track doubling in Cambridgeshire and track improvements between Leicester and Stoke. Both items of news were welcomed by the Rail Freight Group which believes the development of the country’s rail infrastructure to be of vital importance with Chairman Tony Berkeley saying:

“The Guidance is a clear and welcome statement of Government commitment to rail freight. Strategic rail freight interchanges are vital if we are to develop efficient and cost effective rail solutions as part of modern logistics chains, and there is an urgent need to develop more facilities, particularly in the South East. We are particularly pleased that the Guidance has the support not just of DfT but also of Treasury and of DCLG.”