Thursday, August 6, 2015

Multimodal and International Rail Freight Terminal Given the Go Ahead

Major New Cargo Facility for Scotland
Shipping News Feature

UK – Proposals for a new international rail freight terminal at Mossend in Bellshill, Scotland have been given the go ahead by Scottish Ministers, paving the way for one of country’s most significant private sector infrastructure projects and creating a state-of-the-art rail cargo development with claims the development has the potential to deliver around 4,900 new jobs during the construction and operational phases.

In addition to new freight handling capabilities, the Mossend International Railfreight Park (MIRP) will provide adjoining distribution facilities that will enable more businesses to shift long distance freight from road to rail. PD Stirling the operators of the existing Mossend Railhead will expand its existing operations to provide Scotland with a 66% increased capacity rail link to UK and European markets.

MIRP will comprise warehousing and manufacturing space adjacent to the terminal as well as bespoke, low carbon distribution, service and logistics facilities allowing occupiers to load directly to and from the trains. Facilities will be built to meet market demand and to accommodate a range of operators and building types.

According to the developers they are building a sustainable green legacy for the Bellshill area, they say the creation of the new rail freight hub with direct access to the strategic road network should remove all associated HGV traffic from the local road network, as well as bringing a more efficient and sustainable alternative to long haul road transport. David Stirling, Director of PD Stirling, said:

“We’re delighted with today’s decision as it will open up new opportunities for rail freight and sustainable low-carbon logistics in Scotland. MIRP will create a major new rail freight facility and help to secure new investment and economic activity both in Lanarkshire and across Scotland. MIRP will be able to compete favourably on cost with road transport, extend choice and support the sustainable movement of goods to and from Scotland.

“We recognise that there has been some local concern but are looking forward to working with residents to put in place locally supported management for the proposed community woodland which will include walkways, woodlands and cycle routes.”

The granting of permission helps some way to deliver the Scottish Government’s own Economic Strategy for Scotland, the key provisions of which are a much broader approach to boosting competitiveness, the private sector’s enhanced contribution to achieving economic growth, and fulfilling the four priority areas targeted; investment, innovation, inclusive growth and internationalisation.

The decision also reflects the Scottish Parliament Inquiry into Freight Transport in Scotland carried out by the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee which highlighted the vital role of rail freight in supporting the country’s economy and connecting Scotland to Europe via the Channel Tunnel. In January North Lanarkshire Council kicked out plans for the development after over 1,200 local residents lodged objections to say the project would be to their detriment.

Rail freight has been increasing in popularity with supermarkets and material handling firms looking to transfer goods to and from Europe. MIRP chiefs say the terminal will support this growth with its capability to handle the new class of 775 metre long electric trains on a daily basis. As well as lowering distribution costs for occupiers, the development will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by moving freight from road to rail.