Scotland’s transport minister Derek Mackay has launched the government’s new rail freight strategy called Delivering the Goods.
The strategy includes a vision to make the country’s rail freight sector competitive and sustainable for meeting the demands of modern markets, as well as improve the industry and support economic and environmental targets.
In order to support the rail freight sector to tap new and rising markets, the government has identified four major forces, which include innovation, facilitation, promotion and investment.
Mackay also urged the industry and business community across Scotland and the UK for support in realising the strategy and help the rail freight sector.
Mackay said: “This strategy follows a comprehensive consultation process that sought the views of the rail freight industry, businesses, trade unions and other stakeholders.
“What became clear during this process is that there are growing challenges facing the industry.
“However, it also revealed a definite desire to tackle them and a need to work together in order to put rail freight back onto a sustainable footing.
“By offering a range of concrete actions that will lead to increased innovation and collaboration across the industry, targeted investment in Scotland’s strategic freight network and better promotion of the benefits of rail freight both to business and society, we can create the conditions that will allow the sector to prosper and grow.”
The transport minister also visited a depot of Tarmac, which is private sector users of rail freight in the UK, at Aberdeen Craiginches rail freight terminal and witnessed operations that would transport concrete from Dunbar to Aberdeen for use in the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral route.
Tarmac recently signed a new five-year haulage contract with Colas in Scotland, alongside a deal with VTG to supply 46 new, modern cement wagons required in critical construction projects.
Rail Freight Group (RFG) Scottish representative David Spaven said: “We welcome the Scottish government’s strong support for the development of rail freight in Scotland.
“The industry is ready to rise to the challenge, working innovatively with government at all levels and with our customers, both existing and potential.
“The more freight we can move by rail, the greater the economic and environmental benefit for Scotland.”