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Felixstowe: Port chiefs discuss rail freight plans during visit by Transport Minister Baroness Kramer

06:00 21 March 2014

Transport minister Baroness Kramer with John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight (left), and Clemence Cheng, Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited chief executive officer, during her visit to the Port of Felixstowe.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer with John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight (left), and Clemence Cheng, Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited chief executive officer, during her visit to the Port of Felixstowe.


A Government minister met port chiefs for talks about future plans to send more cargo by rail – and departed on a freight train.


Transport minister Baroness Kramer visited the Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container terminal, for discussions on future rail strategies with port management.

Those she met included John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight, and Clemence Cheng, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, owners of the port.

She was also shown the latest developments at the terminal – branded as Port of Britain – including the new Berths 8&9, which are due to be expanded with the addition of a finger quay to enable two of the world’s largest vessels to berth at the same time.

Before departing on a freight train for London, she also visited the new North Rail Terminal, which has doubled the port’s rail cargo capacity.



  • Due to the small size of the UK it will always be a road, not rail, driven delivery system. And despite much talk of increasing rail capacity, the fact is that Britain's premier container port is still served by a single track line between Ipswich & Felixstowe (with no indication that this will change) ! Despite Felixstowe's status as Britain's foremost container port, there has been little new investment in roads or rail since 1982. There is for the first time serious competition from the new London Gateway terminal, a port as big at Felixstowe on the north bank of the Thames, just 9 miles to motorway connections. For the major midlands distribution hubs, our truckers have 120 miles before they meet motorway (with bottle necks at Orwell Bridge, Cambridge, Huntingdon, M6. The future prosperity of Suffolk relies on the A14, so a Northern bypass is not a wish, but an absolute necessity for Ipswich & Suffolk's future prosperity. Around 10,000 Ipswich & Suffolk jobs rely on these trucks getting through. When the bridge opened in 1982, 300,000 TEUS of cargo crossed the Orwell, now its heading towards 4 million. 40% of the country's entire container freight crosses the Orwell today. What Ipswich, Felixstowe, Suffolk and the whole country needs is a Northern bypass for Ipswich. Without it growth at the port of Felixstowe will decline and business will move elsewhere.

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    Mark Ling

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • I wonder what the Port Chiefs said about their obligation to dual the line from Ipswich to felixstowe which they seem very keen to wriggle out of, trying to get rid of the much used passenger service instead.

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    Friday, March 21, 2014

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