Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rail and Road Haulage Freight Group Advice Heeded by Minister

Report on Modal Shift and the Future of Commercial Transport Praised
Shipping News Feature

UK – The published report of the Wales Freight Task and Finish Group, the cross industry working group established last year to advise the Minister for Economy, Science & Transport on strategic issues affecting freight transport in Wales, was welcomed recently by the Minister, Edwina Hart, and has now, unsurprisingly, met with the approval of the Rail Freight Group (RFG) which assisted in its preparation.

The Group was tasked with advising on key demand and capacity areas as well as interventions needed to support the development of Enterprise Zones and commercial and business centres more widely and is comprised of freight associations and industry representatives and the report includes twenty four recommendations to the Minister covering rail, ports, roads and land use.

Many of the recommendations support increasing the use of rail freight, and of multimodal transport, and will help to inform the Welsh Government’s National Transport Plan for Wales, due for publication in March 2015 and presently under development as well as Network Rail’s on-going long term planning process. Robin Smith, RFG’s Welsh representative said:

“We welcome this report which will help to shape the future of rail freight in Wales. We are pleased to have been part of the Task and Finish Group, and now look forward to working with Welsh Government, Network Rail and the UK Department for Transport in taking forward the recommended actions as a means of improving rail’s share of the freight market in Wales.”

The Minister noted the important, contextual link that the report makes to the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) in Wales which she said aligns with the approach she herself is taking to TEN-T and the commitment to maximise opportunities for funding and investment for Wales under the new TEN-T arrangements.

The report covers some points vital to the Welsh logistics sector, particularly with regard to modal shift plus the call to cease tolls on the Severn crossings or at least install ‘Free Flow’ technology should this not be an option. Also covered was the need to liaise with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) on matters such as the installation of more truck stops in the country.