At its Autumn Group meeting on 5th November, RFG members met to debate the opportunities and challenges in developing cross-Channel rail freight growth and the actions needed to support new services.
In recent months there has been a welcome upturn in traffic levels, supported by Eurotunnel’s decision to reduce tolls, overall economic recovery and for many services, the superior loading gauge on HS1. Only this week, Europorte announced the launch of a new service between Barking and Dourges in France, on behalf of John G. Russell.
Yet a number of hurdles to growth still exist and need to be progressed by the industry.
- The introduction of new innovative services, such as piggyback, to open up new markets
- Physical network restrictions in the UK and elsewhere
- Terminal capacity particularly to meet growing needs at Barking
- Measures to improve efficiency and increase train loading and capacity
- Responding to the impact of the EU Sulphur directive which is likely to increase costs for cross channel ferries and create potential for rail operators
Maggie Simpson, RFG’s executive director, said: “The cross-Channel market is showing early signs of recovering after a decade of under-performance. We now need to work together as an industry to address the remaining barriers to trade and help rail freight to meet its true potential.”