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Southampton Docks Sets Ambitious Goal: 40% Rail Freight by 2026

Southampton's container terminal, owned by DP World, has set an ambitious goal of increasing rail freight's market share to 40% by 2026. This would nearly double rail usage in just three years, marking the highest proportion of rail freight from Southampton docks in modern times.



DP World is extending its financial incentive program, encouraging customers to switch from road to rail until the end of 2025. The program includes a £10 "modal shift levy" on each full container and offers substantial refunds for those who choose rail transport.


The aim is to make shorter distance rail travel more viable, particularly to Midlands distribution hubs previously reached mainly by lorries. Since the program's launch in September 2023, rail freight's share at Southampton has already risen from 21% to 30%, leading to the launch of four new daily rail services.



DP World estimates that the scheme will remove 300,000 truck journeys from the roads annually and has already saved 6,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions in six months. John Trenchard, vice president of UK commercial and supply chain at DP World, expressed confidence in achieving the 40% target, stating, “At a time when customers face multiple challenges...our modal shift programme has proved highly attractive.”


This initiative demonstrates a significant commitment to sustainability and efficiency in the transportation sector. By incentivizing rail freight, Southampton docks are contributing to reduced carbon emissions and a more sustainable supply chain. The success of this program could serve as a model for other ports and logistics hubs looking to transition to greener transportation options.


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