Rail-freight demand

The Rail Freight Group and Freight Transport Association have published forecasts that suggest the demand for rail freight will double by 2030.


The Rail Freight Group (RFG) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) have published forecasts that suggest the demand for rail freight will double by 2030.


The forecasts show a 30 per cent increase in tons per km between 2006 and 2015, with this figure more than doubling by 2030. However, the growth in intermodal traffic is forecast to be much higher, more than doubling by 2015 with a five-fold increase by 2030.


This reflects continuing expansion of trade from continental Europe and beyond, plus a significant use of rail to and from new rail-connected warehouses.


The figures update 2006 forecasts and have been produced using the GB Freight Model used by the Department of Transport.


The rail freight industry, operators and customers were also consulted and support the findings.


Tony Berkeley, chairman of the RFG, said: ‘These new forecasts demonstrate the urgent challenges facing the rail industry and government in meeting the future demand for rail freight.


‘Building new capacity, be it new lines or more capacity on existing lines, takes a long time, possibly 25 years if we follow the example of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Crossrail.


‘The year 2030 is only 22 years away, so the time for action in identifying overall rail capacity shortfalls and possible solutions is now.’


James Hookham, policy director for the FTA, added: ‘UK rail-freight growth has been among the highest in the EU.


 


‘Rail will play a more prominent role in moving containers to and from ports and we anticipate an increasing demand from many sectors of industry seeking to reduce their use of congested road networks.


 


‘Continued investment in the rail network is vital to sustain trade and the economy.’