The research also shows that rail freight today has a significant environmental advantage over road freight. A single freight train now removes up to 129 lorries from the road, helping to reduce congestion on roads across the country while cutting carbon emissions.
Andy Bagnall, chief executive of Rail Partners, explains the benefits for the UK: "With the right support, rail freight can deliver for Britain - boosting the economy and reducing carbon emissions, as well as improving air quality and reducing congestion, particularly in cities."
Morwen Mands, head of sustainability at Highland Spring Group - which is featured in one of the report's case studies and has recently invested in a new rail-connected facility - adds: "We believe the landmark project at Blackford is an excellent example of the power of partnership working between the rail industry, government and business, which will bring wider benefits to Scotland's environment and economy. We hope that this facility will inspire other businesses to explore the use of rail freight to support their own journey to net zero".
According to the study, achieving the triple freight target will require a largely private rail freight sector working in partnership with government. Freight operators and their customers will need to invest in new assets and infrastructure to grow and decarbonise the freight sector.