Representatives of the rail sector have welcomed the publication on September 13 of the government’s rail freight strategy. This has been developed in collaboration with operators and customers as well as infrastructure manager Network Rail. The strategy sets out a vision for how rail freight can continue its growth, despite the decline of some traditional core markets such as coal. The Department for Transport commissioned a consultancy to assess the growth potential by commodity, and the strategy looks at opportunities for collaboration with the wider logistics sector to relieve pressure on the road network.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard writes that freight ‘is one of the great success stories of rail privatisation’. Rail freight has re-vitalised a sector ‘that had been in steady decline into one which in 20 years had doubled its share of the land-based freight market’ from around 5% to around 12%.
Maggie Simpson, Executive Director of the Rail Freight Group, said ‘the rail freight sector is changing and freight operators and their customers are working to deliver growth in new and existing markets and to be fit for the future’.