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Could Underground Freight Systems Be The Transport Of The Future?

As the global logistics supply chain continues to fray at the seams, businesses are looking into alternative methods to transport stock to their stores. Rail freight has been increasingly used over the past year, for example, as the ongoing lorry driver shortage has led to delays in deliveries for retailers.

Railfreight.com have said that a radical adjustment to the use of rail freight should be considered as a long-term solution to the HGV driver shortage, which may not ever be fully resolved. Even improved pay offers don’t seem to be attracting great numbers to a sector which demands long hours in uncomfortable conditions.

Rail is also a far greener method of transport than road, causing less than half the amount of carbon emissions. According to the Institute of Export, just one freight train takes about 60 HGVs off the road, so it makes sense for rail to become used more frequently to transport goods.

New Civil Engineer reports that engineers are proposing to take matters one step further, with plans for a zero-emissions underground freight pipeline. Designed to provide an access link to the Port of Liverpool, the underground route would replace the controversial planned bypass to connect the port to the motorway network.

Mole Solutions technical director Stuart Prosser said: "The need to maintain an effective supply-chain and to decarbonise our infrastructure have never been more relevant, with the impacts of Brexit and the climate emergency dominating the news agenda.

He added that the system would be capable of transporting any kind of goods, and is commonly used in other parts of the world. Campaigners have been fighting the proposed bypass for over four years, as it would cut through the Rimrose Valley Country Park in Merseyside.

National Highways, who are responsible for building the new port access link, have yet to make a final decision.

 

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