Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Stats put Intermodal Freight as Biggest User of UK Rail Logistics

Continued Growth for Containers by Rail
Shipping News Feature

UK – According to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and the Rail Freight Group (RFG) the growth of the intermodal rail freight market remained on target last year, reporting a strong 3% year-on-year growth through 2010/11, with total volumes moved at some 5.68bn net tonne km (NTKM). This is the eighth consecutive year of growth and confirms containerised freight as the biggest commodity on rail. Construction materials also saw strong growth, up some 14.5% in the year, demonstrating a firm recovery from the recessionary impacts in previous years.

The ORR published the figures on 21 July, in its National Rail Trends Yearbook for 2010/11, which provides a comprehensive picture of the rail industry throughout Great Britain.

The total amount of freight moved in 2010/11 was 19.23bn NTKM, a slight but stable increase of 0.9% from 2009/10. The total amount of coal freight moved in 2010/11 was 5.46bn NTKM, a 12.4% decrease from 2009/10. However, in Q4 the amount of coal moved was up 18.1% on 2009‐10 Q4, suggesting a late upturn in demand.

Maggie Simpson, RFG Policy Manager, said:

“These figures demonstrate that the rail freight sector has managed to transform itself from reliance on traditional bulk markets to being a key part of modern intermodal logistics. Growth has been supported by investment in equipment and in the rail network, such as the gauge clearance of key routes to permit larger intermodal units to be conveyed.

“The focus must now be to ensure that growth can continue, by providing capacity for additional trains on the network, allowing longer trains to operate and working to ensure that opportunities for 24/7 operations are exploited.”