A joint strategy has been launched by the Scottish freight community to increase the amount of rail freight.
Comprising of freight operating companies, Network Rail, freight users, industry bodies and hauliers, the Scottish freight community’s “ambitious” plan is in line with targets set by the Scottish government in 2018 to grow freight by 7.5%.
Four actions for growth have been set out, which reveal what is required to support this, while also investigating how average speed of a freight train can be improved, along with reliability.
The four growth areas that the wider freight sector feel could be improved are encouraging customer confidence; developing growth; doing things differently; and achieving simpler solutions.
ScotRail Alliance managing director, Alex Hynes, spoke about the plans to improve freight travel on the rail.
“We are working closely with our rail freight operators to grow freight traffic on Scotland’s railway over the next five years.
“There are individual businesses and whole industry sectors which could benefit hugely from making rail freight part of their logistics mix and we will be working hard to encourage them onto our network.
“We are also committed to making rail freight as fast and reliable as it can be and are investing in our infrastructure to make switching from road to rail as easy as possible for customers.”
Rail freight is vital for Britain’s economy, with Scotland alone responsible for £200 million.
More than 600 freight trains run on Great Britain’s network each day, with approximately 50 of these trains running in Scotland delivering goods all day, every day.
Indeed, over the last 12 months, in excess of four million tonnes of product were transported by rail.
It is important for the road sector too; the Scottish freight community believe that significant environmental benefits can be achieved by attracting more transportation of goods and services by rail.
Indeed, the industry is committed to helping transfer at least 1,700 lorry movements from Scotland’s road network to rail over the next five years.
Each tonne transported by rail will reduce carbon emissions by 7%, while at least 25 HGVs are removed from the road when replaced by one freight train.