The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has set out seven key targets identified by retailers as the next steps required to help achieve rail freight growth.
The FTA said it hoped the Government’s Rail Freight Strategy, published last week, would incentivise the logistics sector and rail industry to work together and that helping customers to understand the benefits of moving freight by rail rather than road is key to integrating rail freight into more supply chains.
It has now launched the ‘next steps’ document of its Agenda for More Freight by Rail, which has been developed with shipper members of FTA, who consign more than 90% of rail freight in the UK.
Chris MacRae, the FTA’s head of rail freight policy, said: ‘The "next steps" document looks at seven key targets identified by shippers and sets out for discussion what the barriers are to achieving these and what actions are needed to overcome them.’
The targets represent the needs of retailers as customer in terms of cost and competitiveness, service availability and flexibility, network access and international services.
Top of the FTA's list is a 15% reduction in costs. The FTA pointed out that the 2011 McNulty Report into the efficiency of Britain’s railways estimated that they were between 20-30% less cost-efficient than their continental counterparts.
It said that increasing train velocity from 25 to 35mph and creating a stable charging regime is needed to reduce rail freight’s cost base.
The other targets are:
- a six-hour response time to service and alteration requests
- a Seven-day railway capability
- standard train lengths to be increased by 17.5%
- a 400% increase in terminal capacity
- reducing intermodal transfer costs by £50
- reducing Channel Tunnel rail freight charges and rates by £50
The targets were endorsed by FTA’s Rail Freight Council and its British Shippers’ Council, which includes a wide range of shippers engaged in other sectors of the economy.
FTA’s Rail Freight Council includes representatives across the entire rail freight supply chain including infrastructure providers, freight operating companies, logistics service providers and end customer shippers.