Hutchison Ports' Port of Felixstowe, the main shipping hub for the UK, has revealed that the Secretary of State for Transport has approved US$ 80 million worth of enhancements for its rail connections.
The scheme, jointly funded by Network Rail and Hutchison Ports, will allow up to 47 freight trains to run per day in each direction between Ipswich and Felixstowe in the UK.
Network Rail, a British rail transport company, is delivering the project to enable more goods to move by rail and support the growth of the UK economy, as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan — a programme of improvements to provide more capacity on the rail network and relieve crowding and congestion.
In the coming months, engineers will start clearing vegetation in preparation for building the second track.
The additional rail capacity will bolster the Port of Felixstowe's ability to handle the world's largest container ships.
Hutchison Ports recently announced plans to add 8,000 TEU of stacking capacity to the 130,000 TEU already available at the UK's largest container port.
Commenting on the scheme, Clemence Cheng, Executive Director Hutchison Ports and CEO of the Port of Felixstowe, said: “Rail is an increasingly important differentiator as shipping lines and cargo owners look to remove carbon from their supply chains. The Port of Felixstowe already has the widest choice of rail services in the UK with 33 daily services to 17 different inland destinations.
“This scheme complements the investment we have made in rail capacity at the port and will allow us to offer an even greater range of sustainable distribution option to our customers.
“Over 100 million HGV miles per year are already saved by using rail freight from Felixstowe and we look forward to that figure increasing significantly in future.”
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John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight — a provider of freight transport for Britain, added: “GB Railfreight see this as a huge milestone in the development of a fit for purpose UK intermodal rail freight network.
“The Felixstowe Branch Line is part of a key strategic freight route through to the Midlands and Northwest.
“This new capacity connecting the Port of Felixstowe will result in increased modal shift and radically reduce the impact of road vehicles on our environment and public health.”