Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Low-Carbon for Transport Initiative Launched

Mixed Reaction from the Freight Industry
Shipping News Feature

UK - The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched its Low Carbon Supply Chain Steering Group which aims to get freight transport providers to reduce carbon emissions. The group will also provide a framework for government to reward industry for future cuts in greenhouse emissions through tax breaks and includes representatives from all modes of transport.

The Undersecretary of State, Paul Clark, said: “Freight and logistics movements are responsible for around 30% of transport emissions. Encouraging consideration of carbon emissions at the highest level requires a concerted and co-operative approach between government and the industry itself.”

“This is a critical first step towards the development of a low carbon logistics transport supply chain,” he added.

The move has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), which launched its own carbon program in 2007. James Hookham, the FTA’s Managing Director of Policy and Communications, said:

“FTA has led the way in recording, reporting and reducing carbon emissions within the logistics sector. With the establishment of this group, we are now looking to the Government to reward those who embrace this philosophy, rather than punitively taxing them.

“There is a strong will within the industry to lead the charge in making further meaningful changes minimising its environmental impact and this group will give us the platform to innovate and bring carbon efficient practices into mainstream business decisions.”

However, some sections of the freight industry have expressed reservations over the scheme and it’s potential. The Rail Freight Group, though it welcomed the government initiative, said it was disappointed that the document did little to promote the case for rail freight. In a statement the organisation stated that:

“In particular, the document failed to mention the DfT’s own work on developing a Strategic Freight Network, and the contribution that will make to reducing carbon emissions from freight transport.”

Chairman Tony Berkeley said: “We all have a part to play in ensuring the UK moves to a low carbon economy and rail freight will make a significant contribution in the transport sector. We welcome this document and look forward to working with DfT to ensure that the initiatives it promotes are co-ordinated with ongoing investment and support for modal shift to rail.”

The Low Carbon Supply Chain Steering Group will hold its first meeting on 22 July.