Rail freight companies call for reform to accelerate modal shift

Rail freight companies have today (Thursday, 8th July) called on the Government to introduce a range of new policies and reforms to accelerate ‘modal shift’ and increase the volume of goods transported by rail, rather than road.

The recommendations are outlined in a report published by the Rail Delivery Group – ‘Rail Freight: Building a stronger, greener future for Britain’. DB Cargo UK’s Chief Executive Andrea Rossi said:

“The report sets out what legislative and regulatory changes we believe are necessary to improve infrastructure and connectivity and unlock fully the future potential of rail freight in Great Britain.

“It’s essential that the Government provides the confidence and certainty needed to unlock sustained investment and drive further growth, enabling freight companies like ourselves us to deliver more regular, reliable and environmentally-friendly services for our customers.

“For too long the points have been unfairly set in favour of passenger train operators and I believe the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail published recently provides the ideal platform on which we can start to address the current inequities. However, it will take a collaborative effort by all stakeholders involved – Government, regulators, rail companies, industry bodies and our customers - to deliver this.

“Recent research has shown that rail freight delivers £2.45bn of economic benefits to the UK each year. This is made up of £1.65bn in user benefits (time savings, cost savings, reliability improvements) and £800m in social benefits (reduced congestion, emissions and safety impacts). The recent pandemic and Brexit transition period reinforced the important role we play every day in keeping Britain’s businesses and communities running.

“However, given the right legislative and regulatory policies, there is so much more we could do to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of not just our own operations, but those of our customers too.

“Today’s report sets out in detail the scale of the opportunity for rail freight in Britain and what changes we collectively need to work towards to realise the benefits for our climate, for our economy and for our customers.

“We look forward to engaging with you further on this important issue in the weeks and months ahead.”