The logistics sector in the North of England could reap £16.2bn in efficiency gains if recommendations made in the draft Transport for the North (TftN) Freight & Logistics Strategy come to fruition.
Speaking at today’s (3 March) Freight in the City Spring Summit: Driving Growth in the North, Chris Rowland, MD at MDS Transmodal and co-author of the report, highlighted the crucial areas of investment needed to help logistics firms play their part in delivering the government’s economic growth plans for the northern powerhouse.
Looking at growth projections through to 2033, the first-ever pan-regional freight study in the UK aims to produce a public sector strategy for a predominantly private-run industry.
The report urges the government to invest in better highways connectivity from the east to the west of the region, improve cost-effective access into the North, and calls for improvements on key routes.
These include the notoriously busy M60 – “we calculated another lane will be required purely for freight,” said Rowland – as well as the potential for a new Trans-Pennine route from east Manchester to Sheffield and better access to ports.
More investment in rail and waterways would also be a key driver of growth, said Rowland, with the public sector encouraged to take a more strategic approach to land use to enable the private sector to invest in a network of multimodal distribution parks, as well as ensuring enough rail capacity is available ahead of demand.
“One of the key messages is: what can the public sector do to change the environment so that the private sector will invest?” said Rowland.