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Logistics UK calls for government to review the Mode Shift Revenue Support scheme


The government should review its Mode Shift Revenue Support (MSRS) scheme – aimed at rail and inland water freight transport – and adapt it to become more accommodating for water, as well as rail operators, according to business group Logistics UK.  

The call follows a ‘Light Freight on the River Thames’ roundtable hosted by Logistics UK, in which the Thames Estuary Growth Board (TEGB) and Port of London Authority (PLA) released the ‘MSRS – Light Freight Analysis Report’. Public Policy Manager at Logistics UK, Alexandra Herdman, comments:  

“Research has shown that 95% of the funding from the MSRS scheme has been allocated to rail freight. While rail provides strong opportunities for modal shift and must be supported, it is important that government allocates further funding to the scheme and it is amended to deliver for both rail and inland waterways.

Moving freight by inland waterways holds decarbonisation benefits – a barge fully loaded with aggregates can replace the job of 17 HGVs – however, use of this mode has declined in recent years, despite the UK’s network of canals and rivers which links many of our major cities. As the report clearly demonstrates, action must be taken to prevent disadvantaging water freight, which also brings many social and economic benefits.   

The MSRS scheme currently does not fund capital expenditure and therefore fails to cover the significant additional costs required for upgrading and creating piers, as well as vessel investments. Logistics UK is therefore calling for Freight Facilities Grants (FFGs), which do cover capital costs, to be reinstated in England to ensure that business can continue to diversify their own facilities and support zero carbon ambitions and the UK economy.”

To view the MSRS – Light Freight Analysis Report commissioned by the TEGB and PLA, and prepared by WSP UK, please visit: https://thamesestuary.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/MSRS-River-Freight-Analysis-Final-Report.pdf  

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