Growing the UK’s haulage industry

The UK has lost market share in long distance haulage. Lower labour rates and lower taxes on vehicles in parts of the EU have allowed undercutting of UK hauliers. The UK did introduce the HGV levy to require foreign hauliers to make some contribution to road costs in the UK, as otherwise their trucks did not pay VED and they often evaded refuelling here to take advantage of lower taxes elsewhere. This has been cancelled for a year.

Now we are independent we need to reconsider our haulage industry. The first thing should be to restore the HGV levy on foreign trucks using our roads and to make sure the UK haulier does not pay twice for using our highways. The idea of the HGV charge was to make a charge for use of our roads by lorries not paying VED.

We could look at the balance of containers that come to the UK unaccompanied and those coming with a tractor unit and driver from the continent. Maybe more could be brought in more cheaply by a continental driver delivering the container to an EU port and a UK driver picking it up at the UK harbour.

The railway needs to bid for more of the longer distance work within the UK, offering single container or waggon marshalling at sufficient locations where UK drivers and haulage companies can pick up the load for the final delivery journey. This becomes more of an option with the decline of passenger use.

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  1. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    You need to sort out the mess to Northern Ireland. Vehicles getting turned back and goods stuck in bonded warehouses.
    NI is part of the UK.

    • Andy
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Not economically it isn’t.

      Conservative MPs voted for Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement.

      Northern Ireland economically remains part of the EU.

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        In what way does “Northern Ireland economically remain part of the EU”. I am genuinely interested.

        Do they have to remit 20% of their internal UK VAT to Europe?
        Do they have to pay a % of their estimated GDP in prostitution and drug taxes to the EU still?
        Do they have to remit what is it 75-80% of their rest of the world import tariff/taxes to the EU?
        Where do they pay their taxes to? Do they stay in N.Ireland.
        Is the UKs GDP now reduced with N.Ireland trade?
        I’m unclear of how economically they are part of the EU. Where’s your evidence or sources for this?

        • Tabulazero
          Posted January 8, 2021 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          Northern Ireland remains under the jurisdiction of the ECJ as part of the withdrawal agreement. It will remain fullz aligned with EU norms and regulations as a member of the Single-Market.

          • a-tracy
            Posted January 8, 2021 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            But that is not “economically” tied to the EU is it. It is regulatory not economically unless you have evidence to the contrary which I am interested in reading please.

    • turboterrier
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      To be fair have not these companies had long enough to get their ducks in a row.
      Maybe the time has come to ship the container only not involving the article and the driver. Must be less costly to delay a container than a man and his cab. Must be a business opportunity here for a company to organize drop off and pick up service.

      • turboterrier
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Artic not article

    • glen cullen
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Thought we’d sold off NI to make a deal with the EU

      • Simeon
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:19 pm | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      The mess that you created by your highly silly little vote, along with countless other messes, all predicted absolutely in detail by the Remain campaigns.

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Give it a rest.

        I’m trying out some new leftwing responses that are all the rave on Guido.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Is that how you describe the freedom marches of Gandhi & Mandela, “silly little votes”?

      • Fred H
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        highly silly little – not wet lettuce then?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      A semi-detached part now alas, thanks to this rather dire new EU treaty. It will surely also be used by the EU as a Trojan Horse to try to continue to control and tax the UK.

  2. Mark B
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Great, a new topic.

    . . .  take advantage of lower taxes elsewhere.

    Ahem ! And there you have it – Too higher taxation.

    A certain well known haulier use to register his lorries in Belgium because taxation became too high. If you want more, charge less.

    • Simeon
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Sir John is comfortable talking about what government might do in the future rather than what government is doing right now. Dreaming of a different future rather than taking meaningful action to change the dystopian present.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        ouch. Straight to the point.

    • Nig l
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Totally correct. You would think that HMG would be constantly monitoring it and adjust accordingly to ensure, at a minimum, parity.

      Regrettably as we see regularly, they are not that nimble.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Correct – if you want more charge less, and more training plans and training loans.

      Railways cause delays, too much disruption from lane closures for bad weather, leaves, track and signalling problems, union action etc.

    • GilesB
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      If the protectionist EU will not allow cabotage for U.K. hauliers, there is no reason that we should allow any foreign cabs for container trailers. Obviously specialist loads/vehicles is a different issue.

      It doesn’t have to be an absolute prohibition. Just encourage/support the investment for efficient loading/unloading of cabless trailers. And get the cost structure right for U.K. cabs to pick up at U.K. ports.

      Container traffic is already very efficient and fast, so tipping the balance to reduce the environmentally unfriendly shipping of trailers shouldn’t be difficult either.

      You could just make it part of the green agenda ‘No trailers with containers allowed to unload at U.K. ports: containers only!’

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      The scope for changing the various duties for road usage has not changed significantly since leaving the European Union.

      Yes the UK can impose levies for foreign trucks, but that would have to apply equally to all nations, not just to those of the European Union. I see plenty of Russian, Turkish and other trucks on our roads.

      All those countries would no doubt reciprocate, and the overall effect would be a dampening down of trade – what else?

      As for being “independent” now, in what way was the UK “dependent” upon the European Union in any way that it is not still now?

      Hardly existential, was it?

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        What % of of Russian and Turkish trucks do you see in South Wales Martin, seriously, how do you see anything, you’ve been on lockdown for months in Wales.

        How many Russian and Turkish trucks were held up in Dover when Macron closed the port before Christmas compared to EU trucks? You’re someone who asks for facts all the time, can you provide any for this statement on haulage?

      • Fred H
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        one of those nerds sitting at roundabouts noting down lorry registration numbers?

  3. DOM
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    A tedious issue that no one takes an interest in. Let’s focus on your decision to back Johnson’s attack on personal freedoms now that you’ve embraced State authoritarianism, barbaric attacks on our culture and the embrace of a politics that refuses to recognise the divine right of opposition

    Your party, its MPs and that slime opposite are laying the foundations of a most sinister future

    Reply I did not vote for lockdown

    • Simeon
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      You didn’t vote against either. And you’re still in the Conservative Party. I’d say DOM’s point substantially stands.

      • Jim Whitehead
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 8:39 pm | Permalink


  4. Polly
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Surely there won’t be any trucks in the UK soon when your economy collapses thanks to Mr Johnson’s stay home policies?

    At least that will fit in with UK Net Zero which looks increasingly true in more ways than one!


  5. Dave Andrews
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    In the past, carriers switched their operation from rail to road because their deliveries were being frustrated by rail strikes.
    Those companies will need guarantees of continuity of rail service if they are going to switch back again.

    • Fred H
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Beeching (and his mate Marples) sort of helped by closing rail lines except main routes. So road traffic was essential, step in Marples.

  6. Tabulazero
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    The loss of cabotage rights as part of leaving the EU means that British hauliers are uncompetitive compared to EU hauliers inside the Single-Market.

    British hauliers can only deliver a cargo and reload one once inside the Single-Market compared to three times for their EU counterparts who as a result enjoy more flexibility and business opportunities.

    Empty or half-empty trucks do not make money.

    It is going to be tough for British hauliers to overcome that disadvantage

    • Edward2
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      They were uncompetitive whilst we were in the EU.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted January 8, 2021 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Had they been uncompetitive, they would have been wiped out of existance.

        That was not the case.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 8, 2021 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          They carried on with work from the UK and elsewhere.

          Making a profit as new nations joined the EU with lower fuel and labour costs caused increasing problems for UK hauliers.

          Have you ever run a business?

  7. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Oh I don’t think you’ll find Carrie is in the slightest bit interested in the haulage industry, beyond telling them to stop using diesel.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Ah, such a level playing field.

  9. Andy
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    British hauliers are one of the big losers out of Brexit.

    Before they could travel unfettered anywhere in the EU.

    Now they are subject to strict limits about where they can go.

    Permits – of which there are limited numbers – are required for each EU country they go to.

    A trip to – for example – parts of Italy could easily require five permits. France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy. One for each country they drive through.

    We could charge EU hauliers who come here. Switzerland – not in the EU – always has such a system for all motorists. But it would simply be added to the cost of the load and would end up being paid by us, the consumer.

    Yesterday the Governor of the Bank of England confirmed the significant economic hit we face from your Brexit. Still some of you pretend there is no such hit.

    • czerwonadupa
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      If you are going to put a cost on freedom which a previous generation thought “Priceless” the cost of Brexit will be far, far less than the cost of the Chinese virus exported around the world.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      I’ve searched the internet to find quotes from the Governor of the Bank of England that says “significant economic hit” which is what you say.
      Can you tell me how to find these quotes?

      • Edward2
        Posted January 8, 2021 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Silence came the response.
        More fake claims from young Andy.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 9, 2021 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          Edward2, you need to keep a log of all Andy’s unanswered ‘fact’ quotes that he can’t substantiate.

  10. BW
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Sir John, is it correct that the UK haulage industry can no longer get involved in cabotage. The ability to pick up a load in Europe after dropping there and therefore must come back empty. If so does the same apply to EU vehicles dropping a load in the UK. It would seem a bit daft if that is correct.
    As for VED. It is not right that it is only U.K. vehicles pay towards the maintenance of our roads.

  11. Mike Wilson
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Left hand drive lorries should never have been allowed on our roads. I have often seen artics with EU plates pull out from the inside lane of a motorway with a car next to them in the driver’s blind spot.

  12. Mike Wilson
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    What about the ‘level playing field’? How can it be right that hauliers can pay less for fuel in Calais than they do in Dover?

    There never has been a level playing field.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Do you claim that the UK government has no right to impose different fuel taxes from France then?

      • Lynn
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Our Government felt sorry for the Continental countries and gave them an advantage. Kenneth Clarke QC confirmed at the despatch box that we had to pay for new fishing fleets for France, Spain and Portugal to use in our waters to catch our fish ‘so that they could compete with us’.
        He remains entirely unconcerned that trussed like a chicken, we could not compete. That was the ‘gentlemanly objective’. More than generous (with other people lives and assets).
        Never mind. All over now, democracy has gone because it only works in a homogeneous nation and we have been destroyed in that respect, without ever having been consulted.

        • Simeon
          Posted January 8, 2021 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          Very interesting, and important, point, about democracy not working in a highly diverse society. Though I am against democracy in principle, that it is practicable in societies where there is essentially a binary choice between two paths that run broadly in parallel explains its previous success. Now, when there are so many possible paths (though only two, at most, are presented as viable options), vast swathes of people are disenfranchised. This is why we are witnesssing the breakdown of democracy, and this is why so many people look at the democracy that we presently have and see it for the sham it is.

          I actually believe that diversity is a good thing – where people with differences are able to find a way to not only live along side one another but to enhance each others existential experience. But when the state attempts to dictate the terms of this process, imposing a uniform approach to coexistence, then we end up with the appalling mess we now see, and individuals are set against one another. Divide and rule? Whether or not that is the intention, it is most assuredly the effect.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        Level plying field treaty rules means the UK could be taken to the ECJ

  13. John
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The haulage industry is headed for a government designed depression greater than any in history just like the rest of the country. Hyperinflation and hunger will concern us more than how the few goods that are available are delivered.

  14. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Sorry John it is successive Governments which are to blame for introducing a huge range of taxes simply for anyone to use the roads.
    You are penalising people and business when there is no sensible alternative.

    At one stage it was a joke when people said eventually the government would tax the air we breathe next, now its actually happening with so called pollution charges.

    Now we have congestion charges as well, when the roads have barriers, speed humps, chicanes, speed camera’s and the like, deliberately placed to slow down traffic.
    Then we have single and double white lines, yellow lines, red lines box junctions, a whole host of different coloured tarmacs, and whole variety of complicated parking restrictions.

    Anyone would think the government want to ban vehicles, Oh wait a minute electric only, but no charging points !!!

    • glen cullen
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:51 pm | Permalink


  15. Fred H
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Yes consider what types of container based goods could be dropped off at our ports, for onward movement around UK. Discourage foreign drivers completing the delivery.

  16. ukretired123
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Road Tolls in mainland Europe also put UK drivers at a disadvantage compared with EU drivers who pay no road tolls here!

  17. Everhopeful
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    If we are ever released from imprisonment will we actually see HGVs on the roads?
    How can they fit in with all the Greta edicts that Boris follows slavishly?
    No return to normal.
    Build Back Better.

  18. jerry
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Third paragraph; Our host is conflating container traffic and unaccompanied trailers, they are not the same, nor is the infrastructure needed to handle them.

    Our host has in the past pushed BR, Railtrack and more recently Network Rail to dispose of surplus land, now he expects NR to find areas that can be used as Intermodal transfer points! That said, there are at least to sites that could be re-purposed quickly, one is in the old Oak Common area of west London and the other in the Birmingham area, currently being cleared to make way for White Elephants… sorry, HS2.

  19. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Absolutely, I was astonished to learn in Macron’s blockade that Eire trucks routine export route to the EU is through the North and England to Dover. It is cheaper and quicker, no doubt at our ultimate cost and disadvantage. Haulage practice and misuse is a practical area of saving the environment not setting dumb unattainable targets.

  20. graham1946
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Railways for freight are not the way to go – 19th century solution to a 20th century problem. They are too slow and expensive and can never compete with door to door trucks on timing or cost.
    Unless you have your own terminal like cars, steel, coal etc. you need a truck to take the goods to a terminal, (probably 50 miles away), pay the loading charges onto rail, pay the rail freight cost, pay the discharging costs at the destination rail head and get a truck to collect and deliver to destination, then what with the empty container? Take it where, at what cost? Our country is simply too small for this kind of thing and if you are talking J.I.T. forget it, a rail truck is likely to get shunted into some backwater siding and be lost for days. I’ve done it. I once did a study on just this subject for a large international firm and concluded it could not work when I could get a truck from south to north at a predictable time of collection and delivery and much lower cost. Forget rail. Doesn’t even work well for passengers who do all their own loading by walking on etc. and is expensive.

    • Fred H
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      I wonder where all these backwater sidings are? Ripped up years ago.

      • graham1946
        Posted January 8, 2021 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Any worthwhile comment on the bulk of my post? Presumably you know all about it.

        • Fred H
          Posted January 9, 2021 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          well to suggest all this goods traffic will get shunted into non-existent backwater sidings and forgotten is so 1960s.
          Perhaps I do indeed know rather more about it than you do!
          In fact car assembly/manufacturing relies on rail delivered JIT unlike decades ago. The problem that is much more real is the integration of long, slow freight trains on lines used by fast and local services, you don’t even mention.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you Graham, The Royal Mail couldn’t make rail pay and they had their own lines and trains. If it’s unionised it would be held to ransom all the time when they got the power to empty shops with a group walk out. Then the costs would rocket as they’d all demand eye watering salaries and pensions and full sick pay, four day weeks (unless it could driverless automated and they wouldn’t let that happen the unions are too strong).

    • jerry
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      @graham1946; I’m no eco-worrier but they are correct on one thing, our country simply can not accommodate any great increase in HGV traffic, and with more congestion if you are talking logistics J.I.T. forget it, your HGV trucks are likely to get stuck on some (backwater) road due to your own, another driver’s, or transport planning errors sending a large vehicle on a route or to a delivery address were only perhaps a 3.5 tone van should access, never mind simply being delayed due to road congestion, the fact is, our country is simply too small to have 16 lane highways like in North America that will keep the traffic moving.

      It is possible to book space on a container train, from south to north at a predictable time of collection and delivery at much lower cost, and such trains run daily to a published timetable, at a higher average speed than any HGV can legally attain.

      Oh and do tell us of a lorry that can transport 20 to 50 ISO 20 to 40ft shipping containers in one trip/load, which is how real costs are kept low, clue it doesn’t even happen in Australia were they have ‘road trains’, on the other hand railways have such trains day of the week!

      Forget roads, after all they don’t even work most of the time for personal car use, sometimes it is literally quicker to walk at certain times of the day. Ho-hum. 🙂

      Finally, you ask; ….then what with the empty container?
      Might I ask, @graham, what do you with your empty lorry – Duh!

  21. None of the Above
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The background to the imbalance between UK and European hauliers is based in the level of imports from Europe, the vast majority of which is carried by non-container LGVs.
    This will change as imports from non European sources increase because this traffic will enter the country by shipping containers which will be collected from our ports by UK based hauliers. It is also inevitable that some perishables may come in by air.
    Ultimately, if we produce more at home then we will import less and may export more. Whether any increase in exports will go to Europe by road only time will tell.
    In the long term, the only way to decrease the level of foreign goods vehicles on our roads will be to reduce our imports from the EU which come across the English Channel and the North Sea.
    In the short term, I suggest that the LGV Levy on foreign trucks is reintroduced, VED for UK trucks is reduced and a rebate on fuel consumed by vehicles carrying food and other like essentials.

  22. glen cullen
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    This government introduced a policy whereby a foreign truck, once they’ve made their initial UK delivery could remain in the UK for 6 months under-cutting and competing with UK haulage companies but without the same taxation, insurance nor inspection

    It was this government that destroyed our haulage industry – those policies need to be reversed immediately

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


      If this is correct, utter madness if it is, thenI wonder why some of our haulage companies did not register their lorries in France or elsewhere where it would be as suggested less expensive.

      After all ships are no longer registered in the UK for that very reason.

      • glen cullen
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        All UK/EU haulage firms worked under ‘cabotage’ satisfactory until the enlargement of the EU when various countries noted and used loopholes to use cheap labour and trucks. By rotating trucks foreign trucks every 6 months they don’t have to pay tax, the tacho, MoT and insurance isn’t checked by police….and nobody checks the licence held by the drive

        Same as our fisheries

  23. glen cullen
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    For the 3rd time this government is instructing me to stay at home and at other times restricted my travel movement throughout the UK

    But I’ve just received my Vehicle Tax reminder – and its still full price, no discount for complying with government travel instructions

    • Fred H
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      we’ve had to pay it whether we drive 1 mile on public roads, or 100,000 per annum.
      Abandon it in favour of tax added to users – ie mileage and fuel used.

      • glen cullen
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

        Agree, however our mileage and use is our choice…..the government enforced lockdown isn’t a choice and associated costs/tax should be reduced accordingly

        • jerry
          Posted January 7, 2021 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          @glen cullen, VED is a tax on keeping a motor vehicle on the public road, fuel duty is the tax on use/mileage.

          • glen cullen
            Posted January 8, 2021 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            road tax is 12 months but due to lockdown we only have access to the road for 9 months – qed we should have a 3 month discount

          • jerry
            Posted January 12, 2021 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            @glen cullen; Except you can SORN your vehicle at the end of any month, if you really will not be keeping it on a public road, so at best your logic suggest HMRC should refund no more than the reaming days of VED for the month a SORN is made.

  24. IanT
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    If commuter volumes on the railway are going to be lower in future – then let’s find some way to better use our existing track systems to handle heavy freight – and get that traffic off our roads.

    It would require an investment in container handling but would save a great deal of money in the longer term – less being spent on road improvements and maintenance. Smaller (electric) vehicles could then be used for local distribution.

    It is also about time that our railway network was automated – if we can have driverless cars – then surely we can find better ways to run/schedule our railways – most particularly overnight.

  25. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John–Dunno if you remember marshalling yards which needed vast skill and speed to direct and redirecr individual small goods trucks all over the country. Cannot be brought back, more’s the pity, because the sidings that each ststion used to have, not to mention the asscociated signal boxes, have long been turned in to car parks. The tunnel entrance diving off to the right as one leaves Liverpool Street led to the Goods Yard, now ruinous or perhaps now developed (a term of abuse to me).

    • RichardP
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      The car parks could be reclaimed now that people aren’t allowed to go to work or travel by train!

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Car parks and housing

  26. Grey Friar
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    The first thing that will happen if we restore the HGV levy on foreign trucks using our roads will be that the EU will slap the same (or bigger) levy on our trucks using their roads. This will make our hauliers uneconomic and will shrink the UK haulage industry. Well done Brexit! Eventually you will grasp that we had win-win unrestricted trade in the EU, now we have lose-lose beggar-thy-neighbour restrictions

    • Edward2
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      As you say it will therefore make for a level playing field.
      Currently the field is not level.
      I presume therefore you support this fair measure.

  27. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Single container freight and wagon marshalling on the railways are not financially viable. This has been proved time and time again. Even Ed Burkhart couldn’t make it work. There is a strong environmental case for rail freight but that case is strongest when the power of a locomotive is used to pull a lot of freight wagons or containers.

    Distance of haul is highly relevant. An intermodal journey typically comprises short journeys by road at either end plus a rail journey in the middle. There is a financial cost in the two transfers, road to rail and rail to road, which means that intermodal freight is not financially viable for short distances.

  28. kzb
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    The justification for building the channel tunnel included direct freight services from the regions. There was going to be a HGV loading station at Crewe and several other places. This would’ve taken traffic off the M6 which, before Covid, had become almost impassable due to traffic levels.
    As soon as they got the service to London, everywhere else was quickly forgotten about. There is no direct service from the north even after all this time.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 7, 2021 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      It included direct passenger services too.

      The trains were run from the North, but the services were not advertised and you could not buy a ticket. The services were then scrapped for lack of usage – box ticked.

      Yes, then the tunnel was then devoted wholly to servicing Home Counties demand, as actually intended all along.

      Spot on.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        ignoring the massive traffic Cardiff would provide?

      • jerry
        Posted January 7, 2021 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        @MiC; Stop talking claptrap, there was no means for the E* or shuttle trains to run to/from the north of the UK, and no other passenger train is permitted to run through the channel tunnel, ask the German DB railway who wanted to run their ICE trains direct from Germany into London if you do not believe me. A DB ICE train did once visit London, but it had to be towed though the tunnel into St Pancras due to incompatible signalling and tunnel safety protocols. On the other hand E* trains did run from London beyond Paris to the south of France (Lyon, Avignon and Marseille), and these services were both advertised and tickets were freely on sale.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 8, 2021 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          Well said.

      • kzb
        Posted January 8, 2021 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        I’m sure you’re right about the passenger services. But we were softened up with plans for these freight loading terminals in the north, which never materialised.
        Just now I have been watching a programme on the Thames, and apparently they have teams working shifts to install decorative lights on the bridges in London. Up here they’ve turned off the lights on the motorway.

  29. Fred H
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    BMW oxford send their cars on train wagons via the tunnel, and receive parts back the same way.

  30. London Nick
    Posted January 7, 2021 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    We should legally oblige ALL cross-channel freight to be unaccompanied.

    This would guarantee the work of British hauliers (while also allowing them to maintain a good work-home balance, as they will always be able to get home at night) and will avoid any problems caused by the EU restricting the number of licences they grant British hauliers.

    The stupidity of the government in not enforcing this is almost beyond belief.

  31. a-tracy
    Posted January 8, 2021 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Today there is a fantastic opportunity for The Royal Mail and Parcelforce and other organised courier companies to take back market share from French owned DPD as they have suspended deliveries from GB to N Ireland. Goodness if I was a senior bod at RM or Parcelforce I’d be rubbing my hands together in glee. These transport companies that can cope needs the news out there of what paperwork is required and they’ve got five days clear without a big competitor in the market. GO.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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