FTA says Shaw Report raises issues for freight

Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Freight Transport Association says recommendations in Nicola Shaw's report on the future funding and structure of Network Rail raise serious issues for long distance freight services.
The report, released with today's Budget, says Network Rail's routes should have more autonomy and some could be hived off as long-term concessions.

While FTA is supportive of driving greater efficiency and responsiveness by the infrastructure provider in the operation, maintenance and renewal of infrastructure, the Association is concerned about the potential implications of such major structural change for long distance freight services operating throughout Britain across Network Rail route borders.

Chris MacRae, FTA’s Rail Freight Policy Manager, commented: "FTA believes a strong central System Operator (SO) is essential for access planning and pathing across the network, plus high-level control to manage diversions at times of line closure. Without this, Rail Freight Operating Companies (FOCs) will have to negotiate for paths with each and every route and attempt to stitch together an end-to-end service for the customer - the scope for delay, cost and inability to grow rail freight is all too apparent."

Mr MacRae continued: “The outcome of the Shaw Report must be a strong central System Operator (SO), avoiding a situation where the UK's key supply chains are endangered. For example, container trains from the main British gateway ports of Felixstowe and Southampton to the West Midlands Distribution Centres, North of England and Scotland, or aggregates traffic from Leicestershire and the Mendips to the rest of Britain, and Anglo-Scottish intermodal trains carrying consumer goods."

FTA has put these concerns in writing in submissions to the various current Government rail reviews (Hendy, Bowe, Shaw etc) and has articulated this in the engagement sessions with the various review teams.
FTA Press Office
01892 552255