Modern heavy freight electric rail
© Scanrail

A new report calls on the UK government to increase support for the country’s rail freight sector, with decarbonisation among its core concerns.

The National Infrastructure Commission highlights the need for rail freight to join other industries in committing to cut all CO2 emissions by 2050.

Responding to the report’s publication, director general of the Rail Freight Group (RFG) Maggie Simpson said she was pleased with the steps it lays out.

“The commission has set out a pathway for government support in decarbonisation of rail freight,” she added.

“With battery and hydrogen technology in its infancy in rail, and the extent of electrification still limited, industry cannot deliver the necessary investment without government backing.

“This recommendation gives a way forward to provide the certainty the rail freight sector needs, and a framework to oversee delivery.”

Ms Simpson’s comments echo the report’s conclusion that, while decarbonisation by 2050 is possible, this would only be the case with government input.

It recommends a full strategy be published showing how rail freight can cut emissions within the timeframe, as well as the investments and subsidies required from government.

While the UK government is facing ever-increasing calls to put more effort into supporting rail freight, other governments, such as Russia, are more focused.

Yesterday, government-owned Russian Railways subsidiary RZD Logistics announced it had entered a long-term cooperation agreement with Czech Railways’ CD Cargo. The two will work on development of transport products for the logistics market, including container transit.

Chief executive of RZD Viacheslav Valentik said: “Czech Republic is located in the very heart of Europe, which makes it a very convenient hub for shipment to almost any EU destination. I am convinced CD Cargo will be a reliable partner of RZD Logistics in Europe.”

The agreement is the third achieved by the Russian operator in as many months, having agreed to co-develop operations in India and new services between China and Belarus.

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