Figures released by the ORR have highlighted the continued decline of rail freight’s coal market, but it’s not all bad news for the industry.
Although the amount of coal moved by rail fell by 61.4 per cent in the first part of this year, consumer freight achieved its highest quarterly volumes since 1998.
Like coal, markets such as oil and petroleum, metals and international also declined in the first quarter of this year, resulting in an overall reduction of 8.4 per cent.
But like the consumer domestic market, volumes in construction and biomass have increased.
Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager, said: “These figures show the strength of rail freight in these key markets while it is adjusting to a steep decline in coal traffic.
“There is suppressed demand for long distance consumer services, because of network constraints. Every rail slot which comes available out of Felixstowe port can be filled immediately.
“Currently there are 23 daily rail services in and out of the port which are removing around 1600 HGVs from the A14 corridor each day. Once this corridor is fully upgraded 40 million lorry miles per annum could be removed so it should be a priority scheme for the Government.”