UK: North’s Freight and Logistics sector could be worth more than £30bn

UK: North’s Freight and Logistics sector could be worth more than £30bn

The freight and logistics sector in the North is critical to the UK economy given that more than 33% of goods enter through the Northern ports, 25% of GB freight starts in the North, and the same proportion of journeys end in the North. By 2050 it could be worth more than £30bn to the North’s economy and employ more than 500,000 people.

A Freight and Logistics Strategy for the North of England – showcasing the importance of the sector as a facilitator for economic growth and ways we can support the move to decarbonizing freight – has been launched by Transport for the North (TfN).

Martin Tugwell, Chief Executive at Transport for the North, said: “The Freight and Logistics sector is vital in helping us all get the things we need to go about our daily lives, as we were reminded during the lockdowns. Our Freight and Logistics Strategy, which covers road, rail, and waterway freight, reveals the data that drives the sector and identifies the opportunities for decarbonizing the sector.

Analysis shows that by 2050 the sector could be worth over £30bn to the North’s economy and employ over half a million people. To see growth in the sector investment is required to address three main areas of constraint across the road, rail, and inland waterway networks: network capacity and capability, terminal availability, and decarbonization.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Vice-Chair of Transport for the North and Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Freight by road accounts for 90 percent of all tonnage moved in the North. The Strategy considers freight requirements across road, rail, port, and inland waterways in the Transport for the North region.

The strategy also looks at the importance of a multimodal freight network covering road, rail, ports, and inland waterways in the North and identifies challenges such as a shortage of warehouse capacity (especially rail-connected warehousing), lack of reliable and efficient east-west connectivity across the Pennines, and a disproportionate reliance on ports in the South of England.

Lucy Hudson, Principal Policy Officer Freight and Logistics at Transport for the North said: “Freight is no longer the Cinderella of transport. We have made our big entrance to the ball."

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