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Freightliner welcomes the publication of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.

Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), welcomes the publication of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.  The reform of Britain’s railways will create a new public body, Great British Railways, that provides a single guiding mind in the running and planning of the network.  We had previously called for regulatory measures to incentivise the new public body to support a growing and competitive rail freight sector and therefore we strongly welcome the proposed statutory duty to promote rail freight, as well as the development of a growth target for rail freight.  The formation of a national freight co-ordination team is also an important step, which will help ensure that the priorities of freight are being fully considered, particularly the need to maintain network-wide, national coordination.
The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail recognises the critical role that rail freight has played during the pandemic and the wide economic, productivity and environmental benefits of moving freight by rail.  Rail freight delivers £2.5 billion in economic and social benefits to the UK economy each year, including productivity gains for businesses the length and breadth of Great Britain and by cutting congestion, reducing carbon emissions and wider environmental benefits.  Each tonne of freight moved by rail reduces carbon emissions by 76% compared to road with electric hauled traction achieving 99% carbon reduction; further modal shift from road to rail will support the decarbonisation of the UK economy.
Freightliner looks forward to working with Great British Railways as it develops its strategic vision, to ensure that the reform of Britain’s railways supports a competitive rail freight sector, provides confidence and certainty to the private sector and acts as a springboard for rail freight to grow and decarbonise the UK economy.

Eddie Aston, Chief Executive Officer for G&W’s UK/Europe Region companies, said:  “We welcome the publication of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.  There are strong economic and environmental benefits of moving freight by rail and modal shift to rail will be crucial to support the decarbonisation of the UK economy. We have engaged extensively with the Williams Review team over the last few years and are pleased to see the proposed statutory duty for Great British Railways to promote rail freight and that a growth target will be set.  We look forward to working with the new public body to ensure that the right contractual and regulatory framework is in place that enables continued private-sector investment, in order to drive modal shift to rail, increase the economic benefits to the UK economy and support decarbonisation.”

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