The freight and logistics sector could could deliver £35 billion worth of benefits to the Northern Powerhouse by 2060, according to a report by Transport for the North, which represents local authorities and enterprise partnerships in northern England.
The Northern Freight and Logistics Report also highlights the sustainability benefits of encouraging more freight on rail.
The report prepared by Mott Macdonald and MDS Transmodal on behalf of Transport for the North, makes recommendations to support the reduction of the cost of freight transport, expand the global market share for the north in the logistics sector and attract inward private investment into the Northern Powerhouse and UK as a whole.
Interventions suggested in the report include:
- Increasing network capacity for freight to, from and within the North on railways and waterways
- Addressing pinch-points on the road network, particularly considering the pivotal role played by the M62
- Developing strategically located freight interchanges/distribution centres (multimodal distribution parks) which are well connected by rail and/or waterways
- Delivering growth for Northern ports by improving connectivity to and from these hubs and by enabling shipping lines to offer more cost-effective services
- Simplifying and streamlining planning and decision making processes, to fast-track the changes needed
- Addressing training and skills gaps, creating jobs in the North and ensuring the freight industry has the human resources it requires
John Cridland, chair of Transport for the North, said: “This is an important report both for the private sector and for local and central government, with a range of practical suggested interventions to help create a step change in the Northern economy. We will be carefully considering these recommendations as we prepare our Strategic Transport Plan, which will be released next year.”
The Rail Freight Group today welcomed the report. Executive director Maggie Simpson, said: “Our members in the north of England are investing in their facilities to support a greater use of rail freight. This report shows how this can be effectively harnessed to promote the economy of the region, through targeted support from Transport for the North and central Government. We support these recommendations.”