The Empire Strikes Back

From the UK comes this story: “Transport Committee publishes Freight Transport report”

“The UK government must invest more in improving the freight transport infrastructure given its importance to the national economy, says the Transport Committee.

“In its Freight Transport report published last week, the Committee says it cannot be left to the market to provide solutions to issues of competition, the need to reduce congestion on the roads and environmental concerns; the government needs to provide more strategic direction.

“In particular, the Committee wants to see more done to encourage goods to be sea freighted around the UK instead of being dropped at southeastern ports for transporting north by road transport. This would require improving infrastructure to the Northern ports.

“MPs are also calling on the government to resume efforts to address the long-running competitive disadvantage faced by UK hauliers as a result of the relatively high fuel taxes levied in the UK …”

“Transport Committee chairman Louis Ellman said: ‘The Government has embraced the idea that, if the freight industry is left entirely to the market … that approach ignores other priorities, such as regional regeneration, employment, the wealth gap and the environment. The Government should not be a helpless bystander’.

“He said it is now urgent for the government to produce an environmentally-aware and business-friendly freight strategy that assists the national and regional economies.

“SHIPPING: It is not sustainable to make ever-increasing investment in infrastructure to cope with demand in the South east, although it might temporarily mitigate the congestion caused by demand for new capacity.

“Instead, the government needs to recognize that supporting port infrastructure in the regions assists regional regeneration as well as reducing congestion.

“For instance, if all the container traffic destined for the north of England that passes through Felixstowe were to be transported by coastal shipping, two billion tonne kilometres of freight would be removed from road and rail …”

[Hub-port encroachment has taken place in the UK exactly the way that anomaly has developed in the U.S. … and with identical consequences. But how do UK authorities intend to solve pollution, congestion and unemployment problems? “Spread the risk”, they’re sensibly preaching.

From Southern California, however, all we hear about is the PierPASS band aid and punitive container fee add-ons. Regional regeneration? Employment? Pollution? Congestion? Ho-hum.]