Key players in Ireland’s freight, logistics and transport sector stakeholders will gather in the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick this Wednesday to discuss how the Limerick-Shannon region could become a strategic freight logistics hub with direct connections to some of the world’s global logistics hubs.
The ‘Sustainable Freight Gateway’ Stakeholders Workshop is being co-ﬁnanced by the Weastﬂows INTERREG IVB EU Project which 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.
Facilitated by the Mid-West Regional Authority (MWRA), one of the 22 partners in the EU project, the event is also being supported by Limerick City & County Council, Shannon Airport, Irish Exporters Association, Shannon Foynes Port Company, Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) and the National Transport Authority.
Wednesday’s event will feature a series of presentations and demonstrations by transport stakeholders from industry, government and business support agencies, local authorities & academia. Issued being discussed include a new brand for the Limerick-Shannon Sustainable Freight Gateway, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for Freight Transport, the Port of Portsmouth’s new Track & Trace System, the Shannon Estuary, Shannon Airport and Green Freight Europe. There will also be a number of CNG freight vehicles on-site.
Anthony Coleman, Director of the MWRA explained that the primary purpose of the upcoming Stakeholders Workshop is to determine 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.
“Considering its location on the western periphery of Europe and the large number of exporting operations based here, the MWRA believes the Limerick-Shannon Gateway is a key location for freight movements,” he added.
Mr. Coleman continued: “Firms in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare products and agribusiness all have enormous potential to grow their activities throughout this region of Ireland. 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.”
In recent months, the MWRA has been surveying Weastflows project partners in England, Luxembourg, Germany and France to determine how other European regions have successfully developed sustainable freight transport systems.
During this process,” explained Lisa Ruttle, EU Projects Officer for the MWRA, “we have learned 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.”
Ms. Ruttle added: “We look forward to bringing experts from all sectors of the freight industry this week to discuss new ways of working towards connecting and improving sustainable supply chains for the movement of freight in the Limerick-Shannon Gateway. This will happen through an examination of the existing conditions and opportunities for the Mid West region transport modes and freight logistics, and a discussion on European Funding Programme opportunities that companies can explore.”
The Weastflows project runs until December 2014 and 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).
The ‘Sustainable Freight Gateway’ Stakeholders Workshop takes place from 8.30am to 2pm on Wednesday 28th May 2014 in the Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick. For further information contact Lisa Ruttle, EU Projects Officer, Mid-West Regional Authority on 067 33197 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information on the Weastflows project is available from www.mwra.ie or www.weastflows.eu.