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DB Cargo UK launched a new campaign „Freight belongs on rail! “

DB Cargo UK launched a new campaign „Freight belongs on rail! “
photo: DB Cargo UK/DB Cargo UK launched a new campaign „Freight belongs on rail! “
28 / 10 / 2021

The new campaign „Freight belongs on the rail!“ has been officially launched by DB Cargo UK. A new major operation to encourage a modal shift from road to rail was introduced together with the official commissioning of the new London terminal. The designated plan of the program is to bring the “Freight belong on rail” message to the heart of the Government. The launch is considered to be the first major wave of a lobby, supported across the rail freight industry.

DB Cargo UK as the largest rail freight company in the UK is teaming up with some of Britain’s biggest businesses in order to push the UK government into setting a legally binding target for future modal shift from road to rail. The campaign also aims to encourage other businesses to follow their lead.

DB Cargo UK rail freight terminal in Cricklewood, North London

The “Freight belongs on rail” initiative was introduced to the rail industry stakeholders on the occasion of the official opening of DB Cargo UKs new rail freight terminal based in Cricklewood, North London. The investment of 7 million pounds will support some of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects like High Speed Two (HS2, planned high-speed railway) and the ongoing transformation of Brent Cross, which shall see the transformation of the 1960s shopping centre into the new residential and commercial area.

The new traffic element at the Cricklewood is expected to eliminate much of the heavy truck movements around North London. “Every year the new terminal will handle the import and export of 1.5 million tonnes of aggregates and construction spoil that would otherwise be transported by road”, says the company.

Railways as the future of transportation

The average train can carry the equivalent of 76 Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) while generating around 75 percent less harmful carbon emissions. DB Cargo aims to encourage the government into redoubling its efforts for greater use of rail freight.

“Freight belongs on the rail. The more goods and materials we can get off the road and onto rail will reduce congestion, significantly cut carbon emissions and improve air quality – some of the UK’s Government’s key objectives in its drive to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050”, said Andrea Rossi, the company CEO.

Following the recent publication of the Williams-Schnapps Plan for Rail and the well-documented challenges currently being faced by road haulers, the CEO says that there has never been a better time for Government to promote rail freight as the way forward. “Setting down in legislation a legally binding target for UK modal shift, like has already been done in Scotland, will provide the confidence and certainty needed to unlock sustained investment in rail freight going forward”, added Rossi.

“It will also drive greater ownership and accountability, as well as encouraging greater collaboration and innovation – behaviors we have already seen from rail freight operators and their customers following the UK Government’s publication of its target for decarbonization,”

Lobbying as part of the campaign

In addition, part of the “Freight belongs on rail” campaign is focused on promoting lobby on the government. DB Cargo UK is actively asking its existing customers including some of Britain’s biggest businesses to lobby Primer Minister Boris Johnson convincing him to act.

“Some of Britain’s best-known construction companies, supermarkets, steel manufacturers, and carmakers are already enjoying the economic and environmental benefits of using rail freight and we will be working closely with them in the months to come to carry the message to other businesses, who would benefit from changing their existing transport strategies,” said Andrea.

“It will, however, take a collaborative effort by all stakeholders involved – government, regulators, the rail companies, industry bodies, and customers – to deliver the policies and reforms necessary to unlock rail freight’s true potential,” he added.

The campaign also received words of praise from other rail industry companies. Andy Bagnall, Director General at the Rail Delivery Group, the membership body that brings together both freight and passenger rail operators, infrastructure agency Network Rail and the High Speed 2 project said.

 “Moving more freight by rail helps businesses deliver, frees up space on congested roads, and prevents unnecessary carbon emissions, supporting a clean, green economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now is the time for the government to build on these benefits – an ambitious rail freight growth target will unleash further private sector investment to improve connectivity and deliver economic and environmentally-friendly benefits,” added Andy.