Hauliers under-estimate rail competition

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Road hauliers continue to under-estimate the potential competition posed by rail despite the environmental advantages it possesses, according to business adviser Grant Thornton.
In a survey of 100 UK haulage firms, only seven per cent said rail was a major challenge to their financial stability, while only 11 per cent regarded rail as a future challenge.
However, the environmental impacts of road haulage, combined with the ever escalating triumvirate costs of regulation, fuel and labour has prompted Grant Thornton to urge a re-examination of the industry’s relationship with rail.
Ian Carr, a partner within Grant Thornton’s Recovery & Reorganisation practice said: “Rail today only makes up around 12 per cent of total UK surface freight, but it continues to grow steadily. Should the UK government continue to introduce further taxes impacting the cost of road haulage, either directly or indirectly, rail is the most viable alternative, with its far smaller environmental impact”.
According to rail operator EWS, rail produces between five and ten times less emissions than road transport per tonne carried, while industry organisation Freight on Rail reported rail freight moved 22 billion net tonne kilometres in the 05/06 financial year, the highest in almost 30 years (compared with more than 160 billion tonne kilometres for road).
Carr believed these figures highlighted the growth rail was experiencing, and the environmentally competitive strength it had in the face of radical carbon emission targets; the draft Climate Change Bill proposed by Government aims to cut carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.

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