As if the run up to Christmas isn’t busy enough for the freight sector, the rail industry comes with extra challenges this year. The recently announced Rail Review, to be led by Keith Williams, Deputy Chairman of John Lewis, could bring fundamental change to the industry. Freight needs to be at the heart of this review, and we need to consider how best we respond to the questions that it raises. We are also approaching the next Spending Review, and the need for freight enhancements and support have to be a part of this. And all of this happens whilst the discussions on how the UK will leave the European Union continue, with implications for all freight customers and businesses.
These challenges and more will be discussed at our Autumn Group Meeting on 7 November at the Hilton Garden Inn, Vaux Brewery Way, Sunderland. Ben Formela, Rail Freight lead at Department for Transport (DfT), is one of our many speakers and will outline how the Department will look to support our sector through these challenges, and how expectations of renewed growth can help to build the case with Government.
All of this is happening while discussions are still underway on how the UK will leave the European Union, which of course will have major implications for all freight customers and businesses. These challenges and more will be discussed and we urge all of our members to attend if they can.
Our first speaker from Port of Sunderland will discuss how it is developing port facilities and looking to increase rail use. Daniel Copley of Weighwell will then discuss the role of vehicle weighing in freight safety and what new technology can offer. Patrick Talbot, HM Principal Inspector of Railways at Office of Rail and Road will discuss their role in rail freight safety at terminals and depots, as well as a wider briefing on current initiatives.
Jackey Leaper from National College for High Speed Rail will also outline how they can help the freight sector develop the skilled workforce necessary for the future.
The meeting will be followed by a tour of the Port of Sunderland. On the previous evening, 6 November, there will be a dinner at the National Glass Centre, kindly sponsored by Port of Sunderland.
You can download the agenda here.
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