DP World is encouraging freight owners to transport their goods by rail from Southampton, in a bid to take thousands of trucks off the UK’s roads and create a 40% rail freight share in 2026.

The Modal Shift Programme at Southampton, which is being extended until the end of next year, encourages freight owners to move their containers import-laden containers via rail to a railhead within 140 miles of the logistics hub instead of using trucks.

The share of rail freight at Southampton has reached 30% since the programme’s launch in September 2023, up from 21%. Its success has led to the launch of four new daily rail services at the Southampton terminal, taking the total number of weekly scheduled trains at Southampton to 172.

Financial incentives have so far been reviewed every quarter, but from October will be reviewed every six months. The scheme has already contributed to DP World’s goal to take an estimated 300,000 truck journeys off UK roads each year and saved customers and supply chain partners around an incremental 6,400 tonnes of CO2 in the first six months.

John Trenchard, DP World vice president, UK commercial and supply chain, said: “Due to the positive increase in the share of rail freight since the trial’s inception, we believe that we can target a 40% share of rail freight target in 2026.

“At a time when customers face multiple challenges, including escalating geopolitical uncertainty, increased regulatory risk, and the urgent need to decarbonise supply chains, our Modal Shift Programme has proved highly attractive.

“Over the coming year, DP World is looking forward to working closely with the market to refine the initiative further, helping to ensure it delivers the best results for our customers and their operations, as well as our own. We are creating a solution that works for all partners across the supply chain.”

In addition to its hubs at Southampton and London Gateway, DP World also offers logistics, freight forwarding and European transport services, all of which are being integrated into a global network handling 10% of world trade.