The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Transport has approved a plan to install additional rail tracks to increase freight capacity at the Port of Felixstowe, the port announced on Monday.
Rail companies, including Freightliner, above, welcome the possibility for increase rail capacity at the Port of Felixstowe.
Port of Felixstowe’s rail connections will undergo the latest installment of enhancements, having been approved by the Secretary of State for Transport.
Additional rail tracks will be built by Network Rail and will allow up to 47 freight trains to run per day in each direction between Ipswich and Felixstowe, said the port. The project is valued at 60.4 million euro (U.S. $71.3 million) and is jointly funded by Network Rail and Hutchison Ports.
“Rail is an increasingly important differentiator as shipping lines and cargo owners look to remove carbon from their supply chains. The Port of Felixstowe already has the widest choice of rail services in the UK with 33 daily services to 17 different inland destinations,” said Clemence Cheng, executive director of Hutchison Ports and CEO of the Port of Felixstowe. “This scheme complements the investment we have made in rail capacity at the port and will allow us to offer an even greater range of sustainable distribution option to our customers. Over 100 million HGV miles per year are already saved by using rail freight from Felixstowe and we look forward to that figure increasing significantly in future,” said Cheng.
U.K. logistics companies and railways are equally pleased with the enhancement project: “We are delighted that the Port of Felixstowe’s improvement plans have been given the go-ahead which will create much needed additional rail freight capacity at the port. As well as satisfying growing customer demand, the environmental benefits of moving freight by rail are significant, and we look forward to operating increased services once the enhanced rail connections are complete,” said Freightliner’s UK Managing Director, Adam Cunliffe.
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, added that, “GB Railfreight see this as a huge milestone in the development of a fit for purpose UK intermodal rail freight network. The Felixstowe Branch Line is part of a key strategic freight route through to the Midlands and Northwest. This new capacity connecting the Port of Felixstowe will result in increased modal shift and radically reduce the impact of road vehicles on our environment and public health.”
Meanwhile, Hans-Georg Werner, CEO at DB Cargo UK, said, “DB Cargo UK are pleased that these improvement plans have been given the green light. This much needed additional rail freight capacity will allow for more competition which is good for the Port of Felixstowe and good for all rail freight customers.”
Network Rail is delivering the project which will enable more goods to be transported by rail, supporting the growth of the UK economy, as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan. In the coming months, engineers will start clearing vegetation in preparation for building the second track.