At a meeting of the Freight Transport Association's Rail Freight Council on 3 July, members agreed upon a work programme to promote the needs of rail freight.
Council agreed to identify and champion a specific set of policy issues as follows:
– Network pinch-points that constrain freight traffic
– Gauge enhancement for intermodal containers
– International services liberalisation and Channel Tunnel freight access at competitive rates
– Rail freight terminals – the development of the National Strategic Statement on rail freight terminals under new planning proposals announced by Government
– The need for a European-gauge route for freight
FTA will develop an action plan to take forward this five-point plan.
Chris MacRae, FTA's Rail Freight and Global Supply Chain Service Manager said, 'It is vital that the correct conditions, whether they be costs of access, planning processes or infrastructure enhancements, are put in place to ensure that rail freight growth can take place to meet the challenges of the Eddington and Stern Reports.
'FTA's Rail Freight Council represents all rail freight stakeholder interests including operators and customers and is attracting new members, particularly from the retail sector, for which rail is now forming part of their supply chain – not just in the UK but across Europe. All have a common interest – a successful and innovative private sector rail freight industry which is focussed on developing high quality and efficient services for the benefit of rail freight customers.'
Ken Russell, Chairman of FTA's Rail Freight Council said, 'Our members have identified and will develop a series of policy initiatives which we will take to the regulatory bodies in the coming months.'
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by rail, road, sea and air. FTA members consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. They also operate over 200,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet.