Felixstowe: New bid to get freight off the roads and onto the rails

SMALL and medium sized companies are today being given a cash bonus to switch transport of their goods from road to rail.

An innovative project has been launched with the aim of taking 30,000 containers off the roads and cutting carbon emissions.

The �7.5 million Low Carbon Freight Dividend project, created by the Haven Gateway Partnership, offers grants of up to 30 per cent for moving freight from truck to train for firms which have traditionally only used road transport.

The move comes as the Port of Felixstowe is set to start work on a new rail terminal to double its rail freight capacity.

Speaking at the launch at The Alex restaurant in Felixstowe, Rail Freight Group chairman Tony Berkeley said: “This is a really creative and fantastic scheme to encourage smaller firms to use rail freight for their container transport inland from the Haven ports.

“It will widen the interest in rail freight and demonstrate to them and their customers just how effective rail freight can be and the benefits, in time, cost and carbon reduction, that it can deliver.

“It will also demonstrate to Government and industry just how much of a contribution containers by rail can make to its target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. I look forward to seeing a strong take-up of this imaginative scheme.”

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Project manager Lisa Brazier said there would be “significant environmental benefits” with at least 11.7 million kgs of carbon dioxide removed from the logistics supply chain.

“This is the first scheme to offer small and medium-sized companies support for trying rail for the first time – an initiative that we believe will be very much welcomed by companies wanting to make more environmentally friendly choices in the current economic climate,” she said.

A key part of the project will be a Containerised Cargo Carbon Calculator, an online tool where logistics operators can compare and contrast cargo movement methods (road, rail and water) and the carbon emissions for each system.