The launch of the Manifesto for Rail Freight Growth published today (8th September) by the Rail Freight Group and Rail Freight Operators’ Association has been welcomed by rail freight operators DB Schenker and Freightliner.
The manifesto calls on the political parties to:
* Protect the current structure of the railway to give confidence to private sector investors,
* Support the Strategic Freight Network and create capacity and capability for rail freight growth
* Encourage an ever more efficient rail industry which is open for business 24/7
* Provide an efficient planning framework for rail freight terminals
* Sustain the current environmental benefit schemes
* Ensure all modes of freight transport contribute to the external costs they cause, and
* Say no to longer and heavier lorries
RFG chairman Tony Berkeley said: “Rail freight has demonstrated its success by a 60% growth in business since privatisation, encouraged by governments. However, in this economic climate where rail freight is the only part of the railway not controlled by government, it is essential that all parties commit to give the political support necessary for rail freight to grow.”
Graham Smith, chairman of the Rail Freight Operators’ Association and planning director of DB Schenker, said: “The issues of climate change and sustainable economic recovery are occupying centre stage in the run up to the general election.
“Policies are being formed to tackle these key areas and transport policy is critical to both these issues.
“The papers published by the RFOA and the RFG provide a succinct summary of how rail freight can help the economy and the environment, outlining the political commitments needed to ensure we achieve the anticipated growth in rail freight.”
Lindsay Durham, head of rail strategy at the Freightliner Group, said: “Increasing the volume of freight moved by rail instead of lorries will contribute to reducing road congestion and save lives lost through accidents on the roads.
“Department of Transport figures show that moving freight by rail can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 70 per cent.
“It is vital that a stable structure and cohesive plan are pit in place to enable the long-term development and growth of rail freight. This will give confidence to the private sector to continue to invest, so that rail freight operators can offer ever more efficient and customer-focused logistics solutions, while helping the UK reach its carbon reduction targets.”