The Freight Transport Association has called on politicians to invest in infrastructure despite the recession.
The FTA has said that by building a more efficient transport network, politicians could help rebuild the UK economy.
The association will be taking this message to party conferences to try and influence manifestos ahead of next year’s general election.
James Hookham, the FTA’s director of policy, said: “Having a transport network that’s fit for purpose is not an optional extra for any country looking to have a successful economy. Every industry relies upon transport, whether it’s getting goods to market or simply ensuring there’s paper for the photocopier, but congestion, whether it’s on roads or on the rails, not only impedes Britain’s ability to compete, but can also increase our carbon emissions.”
It is urging politicians to take a more “intelligent approach”, to make full use of the infrastructure already available and encourage greater interchange between different modes.
It also suggests that while moving goods between road and rail or rail and sea can be challenging and costly, it is these areas where, with the right political backing and investment, Britain’s trading position could be improved.
Hookham added: “We support the calls from politicians to put more freight on rail, not least to free up road capacity for those businesses that have no choice but to use them. However, politicians seem less enthusiastic when it comes to supporting the building of more rail interchanges or even boosting rail access for freight by bringing down access charges. Britain’s economic future needs them to put their might where their mouths are.
“Serious infrastructure investment and improvement cannot be sorted out in four or five years, which tends to be the focus of most politicians, who always have their eye on the next General Election. Instead of wondering whether it will be they or their political opponents who get to cut the ribbon on an improved stretch of road or new port, they need to be thinking about the ongoing economic interests of the country.”