RMT: electricity price rise threatens intermodal and rail freight, encourages diesel use
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) warns that a 200% increase from Network Rail on electricity charges to rail freight operators risks wrecking the industry while jacking up the use of diesel on both rail and road, thereby “making a nonsense of the Government's CO2 targets". Rail freight service provider Freightliner has already decided to temporarily replace electric services with diesel.
While the transportation sector is looking at alternatives to road transport to solve the problems resulting from the driver shortage, RMT has raised alarm regarding the recent electric price increase.
“With the road haulage industry already in turmoil, and with the threat of empty shelves this Christmas, we should be encouraging the use of rail freight not battering it into submission with electricity charges that will add millions of pounds to rail freight companies’ bills, with one operator reporting an £8M increase in costs” – said General Secretary Mick Lynch.
“It’s nonsense that it will be far cheaper to run dirty, polluting diesel units rather than the clean electric alternative” – he added.
Freightliner has already decided to replace electric services with diesel
The warning comes after electricity prices skyrocketed in the UK in the last weeks, which has had a severe impact on both households and businesses.
“As a result of soaring prices on the UK’s wholesale electricity market, the price Network Rail charges us to operate electric train services has increased by more than 210 per cent between September and October,” intermodal rail freight service provider Freightliner highlighted in a statement.
This unprecedented rise in electricity charges has resulted in a sharp increase in the cost of operating electric freight services, the company states. As a result, Freightliner has taken the decision to temporarily replace electric freight services with diesel-hauled services, “in order to maintain a cost-effective option for transporting vital goods and supplies across the UK.”