�3m for rail scheme

THE Haven Gateway Partnership has secured nearly �3million of European funding as part of a �7.5m project designed to shift about 30,000 containers off the roads and on to rail transport, it will be announced today.

The three-year Low Carbon Freight Dividend project will support more than 300 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in making changes in the way they transport freight – with significant environmental benefits.

SMEs in the East of England will be offered a Low Carbon Freight Dividend grant of up to 30% for moving their freight from truck to train where traditionally they have used only road transport.

The European funding will be announced by Communities and Local Government Minister Bob Neill in a keynote speech at the Haven Gateway’s annual reception today.

Responsibility for the delivery of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the UK was transferred to the Department for Communities and Local Government from the beginning of this month.

Mr Neill will confirm that the ERDF will contribute �2,998,931 towards the project, which is expected to remove at least 11.7 million kgs of carbon dioxide from the logistics supply chain: 7.3 million kgs in the East of England, and 4.4 million kgs in the rest of the UK. The associated environmental benefits, using Defra calculations, would be nearly �3.5m.

“We are absolutely delighted at the announcement of the ERDF funding,” said Haven Gateway project director Richard Morton.

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“The carbon reduction achieved through this project will be significant within the East of England and, by taking freight off the roads, the project will deliver direct economic benefits to the region.”

A key part of the project will be the Containerised Cargo Carbon Calculator, an online tool developed by the Haven Gateway as a partner within Dryport, an EU Interreg IVB North Sea Region project.

The Carbon Calculator (www.ccccalculator.co.uk) offers a user-friendly website where logistics operators can compare and contrast cargo movement methods (road, rail and water) and the carbon emissions for each method, or combination of methods, as they plan their transport to and from the East of England ports. The tool also measures the cost implications, such as congestion, and puts a financial value against it.

As well as offering the dividend of up to 30%, the Low Carbon Freight Dividend project will feature six “Optimisation of Freight Movements” workshops across the region. These will provide advice and practical examples of how to reduce carbon emissions in moving freight, including areas such as loading techniques, better driving techniques, and fuel efficiency. The project will include a Low Carbon Transport Marketing Package for SMEs, enabling SMEs to market their services. For more, see page 3