A report into the North’s rail industry has claimed the region’s freight and logistics sector could be worth over £30billion and employ more than 500k people.

This is according to analysis by Transport for the North (TfN), which said by 2050, the sector could be worth that amount to the North’s economy.

 This follows a strategy for the sector in the region, launched yesterday by the sub-national body, which aims to increase investment in Northern rail and address three main areas of what they said was constraint across the road, rail, and inland waterway networks.

These are, according to TfN, network capacity and capability, terminal availability, and decarbonisation.

TfN said the freight and logistics sector remains vital for the North, and has a huge role to play in closing the 25 per cent productivity gap between the North and South of England.

Statistically speaking, the sector represents a potentially huge opportunity for the North, given that more than a third of goods enter through Northern ports, a quarter of British freight starts in the North, and the same proportion of journeys end in the North, according to TfN.

The strategy also looks at the importance of a multimodel freight network covering road, rail, ports, and inland waterways in the North and identifies challenges like warehouse capacity shortage, a lack of good east-west connectivity across the Pennines, and a disproportionate reliance on southern English ports.

Martin Tugwell, TfN’s chief executive, said: “Our freight and logistics strategy, which covers road, rail, and waterway freight, reveals the data that drives the sector and identifies the opportunities for decarbonising the sector.

“It is an important piece of work not just for those who work in the sector, but for the general public and business community.

“The need to decarbonise our transport system also creates the opportunity to harness the potential of the North’s cutting-edge technology to deliver a transport system that is not only fit for the future but which is sustainable in the longer term.

“The drive to reduce the carbon impacts of freight and logistics runs through this strategy and works hand in glove with TfN’s transport decarbonisation strategy.

“We have a clear vision and want to see continued growth in the sector that will help unlock the economic potential of the North.”

READ MORE: Drink-driver 'ashamed' after being caught over the limit on the A596