CRT's Freight Advisory Group Makes Recommendations on ‘Priority Freight Routes’02 May 2014
CRT has published a report from its Freight Advisory Group into the current and potential future role of its commercial inland waterways to carry freight. The Group recommended an initial focus on waterways it has defined as ‘Priority Freight Routes’ (the designation of certain navigations in the North East that link to the Humber Estuary) where it believes that serious marketing and investigative effort by CRT working with Associated British Ports (ABP) is called for to test the proposition that there is freight to be won to the commercial waterways with the right approach.
CRT welcomed its Advisory Group’s recommendations and has established a director-led steering group to investigate the viability of the designated Priority Freight Routes, including exploring market potential with the major port operators. This work will also involve reviewing what infrastructure work might be necessary to remove obstacles to larger barges. The steering group will also look at what wharf and supporting facilities may be required and what support or grants could be available.
IWA welcomes CRT’s acceptance of the recommendations that it should actively promote its freight waterways and is pleased to see its commitment shown by appointment of the steering group led by its Commercial Director, Stuart Mills, to progress the initiative.
IWA supports the idea of defining the Aire & Calder Navigation, Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation and the Ouse to Selby as Priority Freight Routes, on which attention will be focussed initially, to demonstrate that potential traffic can be turned into reality. IWA is also pleased to hear that Associated British Ports is keen to work with CRT on developing these opportunities. IWA, through its Inland Waterways Freight Group, will work with the Commercial Boat Operators Association to assist CRT in any way it can in realising the potential of these Humber-based waterways both for containerised traffic and bulk materials.
Whilst the plan is for the steering group to concentrate on the Yorkshire waterways, IWA is pleased to see that other commercial waterways with demonstrated potential for freight, such as the Trent, Weaver, Severn and lower Lee have not been forgotten. These have been classed category A and worthy of further review of their potential at a later date, taking account of lessons from the priority freight routes approach. In the meantime, the Advisory Group recommended that CRT should, nevertheless, consider any serious opportunities for freight use of these waterways and facilitate this, including spot dredging where necessary. IWA supports this approach.
A conference in late spring to launch the report and seek a range of views will be organised in Yorkshire in partnership with the Freight Transport Association, to which the Local Enterprise Partnership, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, shippers, developers, operators, customers and logistics professionals will be invited.
The full Freight Advisory Group report is available to download from CRT's website.
IWA supports the use of waterways for freight; more information is available on the freight webpages.
Photo: Freight on the Aire & Calder Navigation and South Yorkshire Navigation