Smart Transport

UK rail freight helps cut seven million HGV journeys a year, according to new report

A Rail Delivery Group report has estimated that rail freight helps to cut millions of lorry journeys each year and contributes £2.5 billion to the UK economy.

The independent research for the Value of Rail Freight 2021 report was put together by Deloitte and the company has developed a new framework which enables the value of different types of freight paths to be calculated.

The model shows that each rail freight path on the network has an economic value of up to £1.5 million per year and highlights the benefits that could be realised by transporting more goods by rail.

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Rail will play a central role in levelling up Britain and rail freight is already doing some heavy lifting, supporting businesses and jobs across the nations and regions.

“As we work to secure a green recovery from Covid, encouraging more businesses to move their goods by train coupled with a rolling programme of electrification would see rail freight play an even bigger role in helping the nation to meet its carbon commitments.”

The report shows that each tonne of freight transported by rail produces 76% less carbon emissions compared to road and with a freight train carrying as much as 110 lorries.

The Deloitte research shows that rail freight is tackling gridlock and pollution in London, by removing 1,000 lorries from the capital’s roads every day.

Freightliner, the UK rail freight and logistics company and subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), welcomed the new report.

Eddie Aston, chief executive for G&W’s UK/Europe region companies, said: “The significant economic and environmental benefits that the rail freight sector contributes to UK society are clear from this report.

“As the largest freight operator of electric locomotives in the UK, we are seeking to deploy electric traction over more routes, to further reduce emissions.

“I am ambitious to see these and other initiatives being rolled out so we can achieve an even greater contribution to the government’s commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.”

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Keynote speakers included: 

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, who spoke on rail’s role in integrated transport, decarbonisation and innovation.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, who discussed the future of transport and its pivotal role in a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic.


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