Incentive to boost rail freight welcomed

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Derrick Potter, board member of the Rail Freight Group and chairman of the Potter Group, a leading independent UK road and rail logistics service provider, has welcomed a new incentive to boost rail freight announced by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). Designed to encourage intermodal container traffic by rail in Great Britain, the scheme applies to deep sea, short sea and domestic intermodal freight. The Company Neutral Revenue Support (CNRS) scheme which has been approved by The European Commission until March 31, 2007, has a budget of £22M for 2004/5 and the SRA has published a detailed guide for applicants. Funding for 2005/6 and 2006/7 is anticipated to be broadly similar at around £20M-25M per annum.

CNRS grants are tied to traffic moved rather than to any individual operator, on a non-discriminatory basis. This is expected to increase competitiveness among freight operators and enable services to be better developed to meet market needs.

Potter (pictured) says: “Intermodal container traffic, in particular imported goods into the country, is growing by up to 8% pa and in some sectors such as retail by up to 20%. The CNRS will provide a further powerful incentive for businesses to recognise rail as a cost-effective and reliable method of moving freight, allied to additional inland rail terminal capacity.”

SRA executive director for freight Jonathan Riley also underlines the social value of rail in easing the growing congestion on UK roads and keeping the economy moving. He comments that the CNRS will help to deliver this economic dividend by reducing lorry miles and will benefit society by helping to reduce pollution.

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