SMEs offered ‘dividend’ for choosing low-carbon freight transport

3/12/12 11:33 AM

A unique new project to encourage the use of low-carbon freight transport will offer SMEs in the Haven Gateway sub-region a ‘dividend’ for switching their containers to rail.

The financial incentive is part of the £7.5 million Low Carbon Freight Dividend project which has been created by the Haven Gateway Partnership and gained nearly £3 million of support from the European Regional Development Fund.

For the three-year duration of the project, SMEs in the sub-region will be offered a dividend of up to 30% for moving their freight from truck to train, where traditionally they have only used road transport.

The initiative is expected to shift 30,000 containers from road to rail, eliminating at least 11.7 million kgs of carbon emissions from the logistics supply chain – 7.3 million kgs in the East of England, and 4.4 million kgs in the rest of the UK. The associated environmental benefits, using Defra calculations, would be nearly £3.5 million.

“The carbon reduction achieved through this project will be significant within the East of England and, by taking freight off the roads, the project will deliver direct economic benefits to the region,” said Haven Gateway projects director Richard Morton.

A key part of the project will be the Containerised Cargo Carbon Calculator, an online tool developed by the Haven Gateway as part of its work within the EU Dryport project.

The Carbon Calculator ( enables logistics operators to compare and contrast cargo movement methods – road, rail and water – and the carbon emissions for each method, or combination of methods, as they plan their transport to and from the East of England ports. The tool also measures the cost implications of each mode, such as congestion, and puts a financial value against these.

As well as offering the dividend of up to 30%, the Low Carbon Freight Dividend project will feature six ‘Optimisation of Freight Movements’ workshops across the East of England.

Lisa Brazier, Low Carbon Freight Dividend project manager, said: “These workshops will provide advice and practical examples of how to reduce carbon emissions in the movement of freight, including loading techniques, better driving techniques and fuel efficiency.

“In addition, the project will include a Low Carbon Transport Marketing Package for SMEs, enabling them to market their services as carbon friendly and thus attract new customers.”

The Haven Gateway sub-region includes the ports of Felixstowe (the UK’s largest container hub), Harwich, Ipswich and Mistley. The public/private sector Haven Gateway Partnership brings together partners from the maritime & logistics sector, local authorities, business, tourism and education & training.

As well as focusing on the development of the maritime and logistics sector, the partnership is committed to protecting the environment and quality of life in the Haven Gateway sub-region.

More details can be found at


Christopher Snelling