CBOA welcomes CRT’S Freight Strategy

The Commercial Boat Operators Association (CBOA), the trade association for the barge industry, today welcomed the announcement that the Canal & River Trust (CRT) is setting up a group to investigate greater use of its Yorkshire waterways for carrying freight, including reviewing what infrastructure improvements would be necessary for use by larger barges, so enabling greater payloads and the carriage of containers.

The CRT group’s work will include exploring market potential, including with port operators; looking at what wharf and supporting industries may be required; and what support or grants could be available, including from the EU and local enterprise partnerships.

David Lowe, CBOA chairman, said “CBOA has for years been saying that the navigation authority should be pro-active in seeking freight and not sit back and only maintain the existing waterways on a status quo basis. So we welcome this sign that the CRT (which took over the waterways from the Government’s British Waterways nearly two years ago) not only sees a possible future for freight but is planning to do something about it.”

David Lowe went on: “Water freight has a role to play in the modern logistics world as an important part of the logistics chain – which is one reason we welcome CRT’s involvement with the ports industry. Barges can offer a competitive – and greener – alternative to lorries, using less fuel and emitting less greenhouse gasses. A barge carrying 500 tonnes with a 2 man crew can move the cargo more quickly than if they each drove HGVs.”

CBOA also welcomes the CRT statement that whilst concentrating on the Yorkshire waterwaysit will continue its support for freight on other commercial waterways at its present levels and will work with commercial firms wishing to develop new services; and that commercial craft on non-commercial waterways are welcome users.

The full report is available to download from the Canal & River Trust website: http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/media/library/6213.pdf

David Lowe (d.lowe@cboa.org.uk)