New project to get freight off the roads
An ambitious new initiative to develop a sustainable matrix of transportation routes using waterways rather than roads has been launched by the UK not for profit organisation Freight by Water.
The first of a series of Modal Shift Forums hosted by Freight by Water was held at The Chamber of Shipping in London and focused on more effective utilisation of the River Thames for freight transportation.
The event was attended by leading retailers Sainsburys and Homebase as well as key stakeholders such as the Port of London Authority and Transport for London, and logistics leaders including Wincanton and the CILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics)
The second forum took place at the Merseyside Maritime Museum and focused on short sea and coastal distribution to and from the North West with a view to maximising The Manchester Ship Canal.
Freight by Water is spearheading this ambitious project to create a viable UK wide service aimed at taking freight off the roads, reducing congestion and carbon emissions, as well as delivering a cost effective sustainable solution for major businesses. The series of Modal Shift Forums are planned to reach out to key stakeholders from within the industry and to the leading consumers of transportation services. Further events will be held in Humberside and Bristol.
‘Against a background of increasing fuel costs, finding a viable alternative for freight transportation has become a priority for major consumers of logistics, including the large retailers, said Peter Ward, executive director of Freight by Water. ‘However, the water transportation industry is highly fragmented and frankly would currently be unable to deliver a coherent schedule of routes. Our role as an independent industry body is to facilitate change by bringing together all the key stakeholders, from ports and operators to logistics providers and major retailers to drive forward a sustainable solution.’
He added, ‘Demand from users is demonstrable, now it’s up to the freight industry to put together a truly revolutionary but workable transportation mode based around water. This is a seminal opportunity to change the logistics landscape and create a virtuous circle for the future.’
Freight by Water was established to promote increased use of short sea, coastal and inland waterways to encourage modal shift in the UK, delivering a range of economic and environmental benefits.
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