Transport for the North (TfN) is calling for comment on its newly launched Freight & Logistics Strategy for the North of England.

The draft proposal, which is out for public consultation until 31 January 2022, highlights the key role the sector plays in the North of England, with more than 33% of goods entering through the region’s ports and 25% of British freight starting or ending in the North.

The document addresses current challenges, such as a shortage of warehouse capacity, particularly rail connected warehousing, the lack of reliable and efficient east-west connectivity across the Pennines, and the disproportionate reliance on ports in the south of England.

The document also calls for urgent action to decarbonise the freight and logistics sector. It looks at the demand for a multimodal freight network covering road, rail and water plus the potential for ports and freeports, and sets out a delivery plan and recommendations.

The three key objectives underpinning the strategy are:

• The importance of accelerating delivery of the TfN Investment Programme interventions to support the North's economy

• The need to accelerate the move to zero carbon

• The strategic policy positions needed to develop to deliver the strategy effectively

Martin Tugwell, TfN chief executive, said: “The freight and logistics sector is vital in helping us all get the things we need to go about our daily lives. The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK leaving the EU brought this into sharp focus, so now is the perfect time for the North of England to set out a strategy on how we can best support and enable the movement of goods around our region.

“Our Freight & Logistics Strategy, which covers road, rail and waterway freight, reveals the data that drives the sector; identifies the options for decarbonising freight; and sets out the importance of the sector to enabling ambitious growth for businesses.

“We urge everyone to get involved in the consultation, not just those who work in the sector, but members of the general public and business community too.

“Getting goods to our homes and workplaces efficiently, reliably and in a sustainable way is only going to get more important in the coming years, so it’s essential we hear from many voices now to help set us on the right journey for our future needs.”

TfN is also holding a #TfNTalks webinar on Wednesday 12 January, from 12pm to 1pm with a panel which includes Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail, Peter Kennan, TfN board member for South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Maggie Simpson OBE, director general of the Rail Freight Group and Lucy Hudson, TfN’s principal policy officer for freight and logistics.

Interested parties can register here: https://tinyurl.com/2p9799f2