Rail freight ‘booming’ because of HGV driver shortage
THE shortage of HGV drivers is causing more businesses to start using rail freight, while existing users are stepping up their requirements. Tesco has been sending 65,000 containers a year by train but is planning to increase that total to 90,000, and the supermarket chain has also been running special wine trains, while furniture retailer Dunelm is reported to have agreed a lease for a new warehouse at the Daventry rail terminal, creating another 70 jobs. Railfreight operators have responded by increasing their resources. GB Railfreight, which opened a new training centre at Peterborough in April, said it was running 400 trains a day and had trained 70 new drivers over the past year. Operations manager Stuart Vinten told the BBC: ‘The whole rail freight industry is booming.’ The number of people employed at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, which is alongside the West Coast Main Line, is also set to rise by another 4,000 in January when a new section opens. The reasons for the return to rail include the lorry driver shortage but also increasing concerns about the environment, with trains reducing the carbon footprint of freight transport significantly.