The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the publication today (17 May) by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) of its consultation on the ‘variable usage charge and a freight specific charge’ for rail freight track access charging for the period 2014 to 2019.
FTA wants an early settlement on the level of charges that will see costs set at viable levels for those using or considering rail freight as part of their supply chain.
Chris MacRae, FTA’s Rail Freight Policy Manager, said:
"We will be engaging with both the ORR and our members who provide or use rail freight transport to see an early and equitable settlement. Consultations like this take place every five years so it is really important that costs are set at a level that attracts and sustains freight onto rail in a viable manner.
"There is much detail in the consultation on freight avoidable costs and charges to specific sectors. But what industry needs, especially shippers considering rail for the first time, is certainty of cost and an expectation in reduction of cost to make rail competitive.
"Earlier this year FTA launched its ‘Mode Shift Centre’ aimed at facilitating modal shift to less polluting modes by shippers of goods. This is vital to achieve national carbon targets, but it only works if rail’s costs and efficiencies can continue on a sustainably downward trajectory to compete with road. Our ‘On Track’ report on retailer experience of rail freight bears this out."