Government needs to act on its own recommendations to upgrade key rail freight port routes.
Welcoming the DfT Ports Connectivity Study, issued today, Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, Campaign for Better Transport said:
“This study, acknowledges that upgrading the rail freight connections to our ports is critical to providing sustainable efficient freight distribution and identifies key routes which need enhancing.
Research commissioned by Campaign for Better Transport, sponsored by the DfT, and mentioned in this study, demonstrated that upgrading the rail routes out of the two largest container ports, Southampton and Felixstowe, could remove 2000 large HGVs each day which equate to 8,000 average-sized cars from both the A14 and A34; our further research also showed that these enhancements would reduce air pollution by 10 per cent on each corridor too.
Targeted rail freight investments work; within a year of the completion of the gauge upgrades on the A34 route out of Southampton, rail’s share of the market increased from 29 to 36 per cent, showing that there is considerable suppressed demand for more rail freight services.
This study is all very well, but we now need action - the Government needs to get on and commit funding to these projects to make them happen. The strong benefit cost ratios for freight enhancements, typically in the range of 4:1 to 8:1, should be factored into investment planning.”
Notes to Editors
- Transport Infrastructure for our global future: A study of England’s Port connectivity
- England’s Port Connectivity: the current picture – 9 regional case studies
- The A14 and A34 roads have up to 6,500 of the largest HGVs (5 and 6 Axle articulated lorries) on the corridors each day, between 10 per cent and 17 per cent of all traffic.
- Rail is the best way to deliver long-distance consumer freight - the largest HGVs make far more longer distance trips than smaller trucks – a quarter of all their trips are over 300 kms. Source. DfT CSRGT data.