In relation to the movement of goods, i.e. freight, it is an objective of my Department to generally ensure that this key element of economy and society operates in an optimal manner, taking account of the needs of the environment, as well as that economy and society. The performance and competitiveness, in quality, service and cost, of all the participants in the transport and logistics chain, including producers, retailers, importers, exporters and transport providers, are relevant.
The question of what mode is used depends on what is most appropriate, taking account of the technical aspects of each mode, the nature of the goods being moved and requirements of those using them, and Ireland’s geographical characteristics. Rail freight currently accounts for a very low share of freight transported in Ireland, at just over 1% of total domestic freight tonnage. This reflects the short distances within the island and the generally high-value, low-volume nature of goods being moved.
A key priority for the Government in relation to investment in the rail network is to safeguard investments already made and to maintain safety standards. In the framework of national and EU objectives to move to lower-emission modes of transport, my Department will continue to examine with the relevant stakeholders how to support such developments, including where appropriate the development of rail freight.