Thursday, March 8, 2012

Subsidy for SME's Which Opt for Multimodal Road Haulage to Rail Container Switch

Cash Available to Cut Carbon Levels on Land Based Freight
Shipping News Feature

UK – A new initiative in the Eastern Region is designed to assist small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s) reduce their carbon footprint by utilising multi modal freight methods. The switch from road haulage to rail has always proved a conundrum for those with comparatively low traffic levels, the extra expense and the variable nature of cargo consolidation often required can put off even the most persistent green campaigner.

Now however a financial incentive, part of the £7.5 million Low Carbon Freight Dividend project which has been created by the Haven Gateway Partnership and gained nearly £3 million of support from the European Regional Development Fund will offer a 30% dividend for shippers moving their freight from truck to train, where traditionally they have only used road transport, the funding to last for the entire three year duration of the project.

The Haven Gateway was set up in 2001 for the express purpose of expanding the regions port activities, since when it has grown into support for other commercial areas. The executive is made up of County and District Council representatives from within the Haven Gateway along with support from representatives of key local commercial organisations. The four ports which comprise the Gateway include the UK’s principal container import/export point in the Port of Felixstowe plus Ipswich, the largest agri-port in the UK and Harwich International, a major passenger entry and exit link with the Continent.

According to Haven the new initiative is expected to shift 30,000 boxes from road to rail, eliminating at least 11.7 million kg of carbon emissions from the logistics supply chain, 7.3 million kg in the East of England, and 4.4 million kg in the rest of the UK, the associated environmental benefits, using Defra calculations, would be nearly £3.5 million.

A key part of the project will be the Containerised Cargo Carbon Calculator, an online tool developed by AECOM for the Haven Gateway as part of its work within the EU Dryport project. As well as offering the dividend of up to 30%, the Low Carbon Freight Dividend project will feature six ‘Optimisation of Freight Movements’ workshops across the East of England. Lisa Brazier, Havens Low Carbon Freight Dividend project manager, said:

“These workshops will provide advice and practical examples of how to reduce carbon emissions in the movement of freight, including loading techniques, better driving techniques and fuel efficiency. In addition, the project will include a Low Carbon Transport Marketing Package for SMEs, enabling them to market their services as carbon friendly and thus attract new customers.”

The new initiative has naturally received praise from Rail Freight Group Chairman Tony Berkeley who described the scheme as ‘fantastic’ and said it would have the effect of widening interest in rail freight particularly demonstrating to smaller operators how effective the switch from road haulage could be whilst showing the Government the sizeable contribution rail freight could make to its future carbon reduction commitments.

Anyone wanting further details of the scheme and workshops can e mail Lisa Brazier at

Photo: Aerial view of Harwich Port