The Freight Transport Association has produced a new four-page A4 publication describing The Importance of Rail Freight and the reasons why the mode is so important for the health of the UK economy. FTA is anxious to promote the future potential for the use of rail for freight over the next 30 years as containerised imports increase and the problems of roads congestion continue to grow.
FTA says that rail freight is a key part of the UK supply chain, helping improve UK economic efficiency for manufacturers, retailers and traditional bulk trades. The use of freight trains reduces the environmental impact of the supply chain in the UK and each extra container train can remove 50 lorries from Britain's roads.
Since the mid-1990s there has been a 66 per cent growth in rail freight tonne/kilometres and rail is being seen as a major ingredient in supply chain solutions, with major companies including Marks & Spencer, Argos, Superdrug and ASDA increasingly using the mode. The UK's largest steel manufacturer, Corus, uses rail for around half of its deliveries.
FTA calls on the rail freight industry to attract further business by a combination of reduced operating costs, a seven day accessible freight network, the removal of pinch-points on the network, development of terminals and liberalisation of rail freight services across Europe in order to facilitate improved international competition.