The prize is a global market worth £150 billion a year, so perhaps the surprise is that it has taken this long to develop a long term supply chain industrial strategy to exploit the market.
But last week saw the launch of Rail Supply Group at an event hosted by business secretary Vince Cable, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Terence Watson, president of Alstom UK.
“We are committed to keeping the industry on track as a global leader which is why we are creating a unique partnership through the Rail Supply Group,” said Cable. “The group will work together to future proof this valuable sector through a long-term Rail Supply Chain Industrial Strategy – creating more jobs and ensuring the UK can capture a share of the global rail market, worth £150 billion per year.”
In the UK, more than £38 billion is being spent in 2014 to 2019 to improve the rail network. And over the next six years the world’s rail supply market is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent a year.
The aim is to more than double export volumes by 2025, as well as promoting “an entrepreneurial supply chain that constantly innovates to meet customer needs, from urban to intercity networks”.
Watson said: “We need the best of the UK’s talented, innovative and entrepreneurial people to help us create a truly world class rail supply industry – and to make the UK a global leader in rail again.”
Is this initiative enough to rebuild the UK’s railway supply chain and make it a global leader again? Well, it’s a start…