Subsidy available for Road to Rail switch


A new initiative has been launched in the UK, designed to assist small and medium sized enterprises reduce their carbon footprint by utilizing multi modal freight methods.

In the past, making the switch from road haulage to rail freight has proven extremely difficult for those with relatively low traffic levels. The extra expense involved with switching to rail and the changing nature of cargo consolidation often required can put off even the most environmentally aware operators.

However, a new financial incentive will offer a 30% dividend for shippers moving their freight from road to rail as part of the £7.5 million Low Carbon Freight Dividend project which has been created by the Haven Gateway Partnership and gained nearly £3 million of support from the European Regional Development Fund. The incentive will be available to those who have previously only used road transport and the funding will last for the entire three year duration of the project.

In 2001, the Haven Gateway was set up with the intention of expanding the regions port activities. Since its launch it has grown into support for other commercial areas. The executive is made up of County and District Council representatives from within the Haven Gateways along with support from representatives of key local commercial organisations.

The Haven Gateway is made up of four ports including the UK’s principal container import/export point in the Port of Felixstowe plus Ipswich, the largest agri-port in the UK and Harwich International, a major passenger entry and exit link with Europe.

The new initiative is expected to move 30,000 boxes from road to rail which will eliminate at least 11.7 million kg of carbon emissions from the logistics supply chain; 7.3 million kg in the East of England, and 4.4 million kg in the rest of the UK. The calculated environmental benefits equate to almost £3.5 million.

An important part of the project is set to be the Containerised Cargo Carbon Calculator which is an online tool developed by AECOM for the Haven Gateway as part of its work within the EU Dryport project.

In addition to offering the dividend of up to 30%, the Low Carbon Freight Dividend project will feature six ‘Optimisation of Freight Movements’ workshops across the East of England.

Lisa Brazier, Havens Low Carbon Freight Dividend project manager, said:

“These workshops will provide advice and practical examples of how to reduce carbon emissions in the movement of freight, including loading techniques, better driving techniques and fuel efficiency. In addition, the project will include a Low Carbon Transport Marketing Package for SMEs, enabling them to market their services as carbon friendly and thus attract new customers.”

Rail Freight Group Chairman, Tony Berkeley, has heaped praise on the scheme, describing it as ‘fantastic’ and said it would not have the effect of widening interest in rail freight, particularly by demonstrating to smaller operators how effective the switch from road haulage could be whilst also showing the Government the sizeable contribution rail freight could make to its future carbon reduction commitments.

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