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Government initiatives give boost to freight transport

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Posted on 3/01/2013 by Wayne Brophy FCILT

A number of initiatives set in motion by the government have provided a welcome boost for the freight transport sector, with the national supply chain now set to benefit.

The Freight Transport Association's (FTA) Chris MacRae has welcomed the news that increased fares for passenger, car and small commercial vehicles on Scottish ferries will now be used to offset the removal of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET), which could otherwise have placed crippling limitations on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

The announcement regarding the updated fares came as part of the Scottish government's Final Ferries Plan, and Mr MacRae says this shows the authorities' commitment to the freight industry, displaying an understanding of the importance of HGVs in "ensuring the viability and economic sustainability" of some of Scotland's islands, SHD Logistics reports.

The need to mitigate the effects of the removal of RET for HGVs has been identified as critical by the FTA, and the association has said that this latest action will give a huge boost to the national supply chain, helping it to strengthen and potentially creating new careers in logistics.

Meanwhile, business minister Eric pickles has also given the green light for a new rail freight intermodal interchange station in Radlett, Hertfordshire, as the government pledges its commitment to enhancing the country's rail freight capabilities.

In accordance with FTA recommendations, ministers are now aiming to implement a new system of intermodal stations that will provide new opportunities for road-based logistic flows to move onto rail.

A recent FTA study called 'On Track!" has revealed that retailers are now reaping the economic and environmental benefits of rail transport, with a growing number of goods sold in high street stores and supermarkets now being regularly moved via this mode of transport.

The study has identified the needs of retailers going forward, and with more freight terminals, more routes and more railheads emerging as the key requirements.

As well as allowing large volumes of freight to be removed from the already congested road network around London, the Radlett development could also see the creation of some 3,000 new jobs, according to Freight on Rail manager Philippa Edmunds.

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