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UK freight strategy questioned

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The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has called for the British government to urgently introduce a national multi-modal freight strategy with the aim of easing traffic congestion, improving air quality and boosting the economy.

Too many imports enter the UK via ports in the South East, leading to congestion around London, said the authors of a new report. According to the report, up to 30% of all freight haulage vehicles on UK roads are empty and about 150m miles are driven unnecessarily by lorry drivers.

In the case of shipping, the authors believe that more could be done to improve co-ordination and efficiency. The report cites the fact that currently 65% of the UK population lives within a 150-mile radius of Liverpool Port whereas 91% of our deep-sea goods are exported or imported via either Southampton or Felixstowe.

This is estimated to equate to 150m wasted road miles, 200,000 additional freight truck journeys ― increasing road congestion ― and creates about 0.2m tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions from moving goods to where they are needed.