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Wednesday April 23rd 2014

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Sustainable Freight Transport Model Is Developed For Mid West

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Details have been announced of a new research project aimed at determining how the Limerick-Shannon Gateway can be developed as a Sustainable Gateway for freight transport.

The Mid-West Regional Authority (MWRA), which is a partner in the EU co-funded project, has appointed Dublin-based Downey Hynes Partnership (DHP) to assist in implementation of an INTERREG IVB project titled ‘West and East Freight Flows – Weastflows’.

The project runs until December 2014 and aims to improve and enhance freight logistics in North West Europe, as well as encourage a move from an over reliance on road haulage to the more sustainable modes of rail, short-sea shipping and river transportation.

Over the next 8 weeks, DHP will survey project partners in Scotland, England, Netherlands, Germany and France to determine how other European regions have successfully developed sustainable freight transport systems.

The MWRA has said it believes the Mid West’s location on the western periphery of Europe could result in the Region becoming a strategic freight logistics hub with direct connections to some of the world’s global logistics hubs.

“The MWRA is participating in this project in order to learn best practice in the integration of spatial planning and transport planning, specifically for freight transport as a crucial part of the Mid-West’s exporting supply chains,” commented Cllr. Gerard Darcy, Cathaoirleach of the MWRA.

Cllr. Darcy continued: “We are focussed on how the Limerick-Shannon Gateway can be developed as a Sustainable Gateway for freight transport, in terms of both infrastructure and the optimal use of that infrastructure. The project brings together experts from all sectors of the freight industry to work towards connecting and improving sustainable supply chains for the movement of freight. The MWRA is promoting the Limerick-Shannon Gateway, which as the most western Gateway in the project has a key location for freight movements.”

Mr. Liam Conneally, Director of the MWRA noted that the Mid-West Region is strategically located on the West Coast of Ireland and is an important logistics hub in Ireland with the Shannon Estuary and Shannon International Airport.

He added: “The Limerick-Shannon Gateway is at the heart of the region and is an important contributor to the economic development of the region. Through our participation in the Weastflows project, the MWRA will work with the Irish Exporters Association and other partners to establish the Limerick-Shannon Gateway as a Sustainable Gateway and improve links with the Seine Gateway, the Liverpool-Manchester Gateway and the London-Thames Gateway, among others. It is anticipated that the results of the project will feed into the regional planning processes.”

“The Mid West Region is becoming increasingly important in Ireland’s drive out of economic recession through export growth. Firms in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare products and agribusiness all have enormous potential to grow their activities in the region. A crucial factor in this endeavour is the development of world-class Freight Transport and Logistics services supporting these firms across the whole spectrum of Road, Rail, Sea and Air transport.  The developing co-operation with the Weastflows partners enables us to bring other experience to Irish issues while also addressing problems in Europe that make the Irish Export Supply Chain sub-optimal,” Mr. Conneally concluded.

Howard Knott, Transport and Logistics Director at the Irish Exporters Association (IEA), and the Association’s representative on the Weastflows Steering Group, commented: “The Mid and South West Regions are becoming increasingly important in Ireland’s drive out of economic recession through export growth. Firms in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare products and agribusiness all have enormous potential to grow their activities in the region. A crucial factor in this endeavour is the development of world-class Freight Transport and Logistics services supporting these firms across the whole spectrum of Road, Rail, Sea and Air transport.”

“The developing co-operation with the Weastflows partners enables us to bring other experience to Irish issues while also addressing problems in Europe that make the Irish Export Supply Chain sub-optimal,” stated Mr. Knott.

The Weastflows project comprises 22 European partners and 19 observers from countries including France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the UK and China.  Project partners include the MWRA, Irish Exporters Association (Ireland), Institute for Sustainability, Liverpool John Moore University, Portsmouth Port, South East Scotland Transport Partnership (UK), CRITT Transport and Logistics, Communication and Tracking Services, IDIT, University of Lille, CTS Le Harve, Intermodality, TTPNF, Urban Regional Authority for Le Harve and Seine Estuary, Logistique Seine Normandy (France), Verband Region Rhein Neckar, University of Duisburg (Germany), Tudor Institute (Luxembourg), and Centre for Quantitative Methods, Mobycon, InforIT, BOM – Eindhoven Region, BBZOB – Eindhoven Region (The Netherlands).

Further information on the Weastflows project is available from www.mwra.ie or www.weastflows.eu.