Rail freight steps in to support supermarket shoppers amidst HGV driver shortage

Figures released today by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show that freight carried by rail in the three-month period April to June has increased by 36.5% compared to the same period last year, demonstrating a strong recovery since the start of the pandemic 

As the UK grapples with a HGV driver shortage, which is wreaking havoc across supply chains, rail freight operators are stepping in transporting goods and helping to ensure supermarket shelves are stocked.

Data also shows that the volume of domestic intermodal freight such as food, clothes and toys, rose by 22.5% in the same quarter this year compared to last year, and almost back to pre-pandemic levels.  

In 2019, 16% of domestic greenhouse gas emissions came from heavy goods vehicles on our roads. With a typical freight train carrying the equivalent of 76 HGVs, rail freight removes 7 million lorries off the roads every year, cutting traffic jams and pollution. 

Andy Bagnall, Director General at the Rail Delivery Group, said: 
“With the current HGV driver shortage the role of rail freight has never been more crucial in transporting goods and keeping supermarket shelves stocked. And whether it’s goods or people, to build back better and to create a fair, clean economy for tomorrow, the country relies on a thriving railway. To realise its commitment to net zero by 2050 and support economic growth, government should set an ambitious target to encourage the shifting of goods from road to rail.” 

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