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:  

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit