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Railways: Freight

Volume 688: debated on Monday 22 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in developing their contribution to the European Commission communication Freight Logistics in Europe—Key to Sustainable Mobility, they will ensure that paragraph 4.2.8 concerning loading standards includes specific provision for nine-foot six-inch containers to be conveyed by train from major ports in Great Britain. [HL1213]

The Commission proposal to develop an action plan to enhance the efficiency of freight logistics is supported by the UK Government. Freight logistics is a global industry and it is recognised that the industry is best positioned to select the type and size of container used to transport freight and that such containers should be able to move freely. The nine-foot six-inch-high container has been widely used throughout the world for many years and can already be transported inland by rail from the major ports in the UK using appropriate low-floor wagons where necessary.

We are currently considering a number of rail freight schemes for funding from the first round of the productivity strand of the Transport Innovation Fund. These include gauge enhancement that would allow such containers to be transported on standard rail wagons.