Logistics could deliver £35bn of benefits to the north
The freight and logistics sector could deliver £35 billion worth of benefits to the Northern Powerhouse by 2060, according to a report by Transport for the North,which represents local authorities and enterprise partnerships in northern England.
The Northern Freight and Logistics Report also highlights the sustainability benefits of encouraging more freight on rail.
The report prepared by Mott Macdonald and MDS Transmodal on behalf of Transport for the North, makes recommendations to support the reduction of the cost of freight transport, expand the global market share for the north in the logistics sector and attract inward private investment into the Northern Powerhouse and UK as a whole.
Interventions suggested in the report include:
Increasing network capacity for freight to, from and within the North on railways and waterways
Addressing pinch-points on the road network, particularly considering the pivotal role played by the M62
Developing strategically located freight interchanges/distribution centres (multimodal distribution parks) which
are well connected by rail and/or waterways
Delivering growth for Northern ports by improving connectivity to and from these hubs and by enabling shipping
lines to offer more cost-effective services
Simplifying and streamlining planning and decision making processes, to fast-track the changes needed
Addressing training and skills gaps, creating jobs in the North and ensuring the freight industry has the
human resources it requires
John Cridland, chair of Transport for the North, said: “This is an important reportboth for the private sector and for local and central government, with a range of practical suggested interventions to help create a step change in the Northern economy. We will be carefully considering these recommendations as weprepare our Strategic Transport Plan, which will be released next year.”
The Rail Freight Group today welcomed the report. Executive director Maggie Simpson, said: “Our members in the north of England are investing in their facilities to support a greater use of rail freight. This report shows how this can be effectively harnessed to promote the economy of the region, through targeted support from Transport for the North and central Government. We support these recommendations.”
Rail freight and logistics / distribution facilities require specific and sustainable locations as both markets develop and refine.
Both rail freight terminals and large logistics and manufacturing sheds require mostly level land and in the case of rail, preferably straight sidings to aid container handling. With the need for 775metre train access (probably more like 1,000 metres with links and junctions).
SLE estimate that an efficient and sustainableterminal with sufficient containedhandling and storage space (circa 20,000 teu’s awaiting seasonal markets) thiswill require a land area of about 60 acres. Logistics will take up at leastanother 100 acres.
East West Rail key to Economic Development
Co-ordinating strategic investment to support the Heartland’s economy could propel this global cluster firmly onto the world’s competitive stage and provide much needed resilience for the UK economy as a whole.
That’s the message in a recent response endorsed by the Heartland Strategic Alliance to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) latest consultation on developing the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford growth corridor.
The Strategic Alliance is calling for Government to make an early commitment to:
a) funding the full delivery of East West rail from Oxford to Cambridge – a transformational piece of infrastructure that is integral to supporting planned growth.
b) investing in a new East West expressway to open up areas for housing and better access to employment.
c) support the need to realise the potential of key transport interchanges as‘hubs’ to attract investment
d) improving ‘first mile/last mile’ travel options for people to travel more efficiently.
The response also spotlights the need to invest in skills and re-training to meet identified shortages, particularly in the high growth areas of construction and engineering. Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council and Vice-Chairman of the EEH Alliance, James Jamieson said that it was vital for the government to invest in successful economies because they can still deliver so much more prosperity for local people and for the country as a whole.
“Our economy is ready for a step-change’, he said. ‘We want to work with the NIC to develop and help deliver these key improvements sooner rather than later. If we can get that certainty of investment then that, in turn, will ensure the buy-inof both the public and private sectors across the Heartland area.
‘We are very aware that east-west travel is relatively poor across the area. Places such as Oxford, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Cambridge are one of the fastest growing cities in the country and yet it’s difficult to travel between them.
MrJamieson added, ‘I think we and the Government are on the same page on this andthe Strategic Alliance’s ambition to establish a statutory Sub-national Transport Body demonstrates our commitment to provide the strategic leadership that will enable us to deliver improvements that will benefit UK PLC as a whole.
The NIC is expected to submit its initial advice to Government later in the Autumn.