This 'hub' should it be successful could secure existing businesses and create hundreds more jobs in the district. The proposal has already received support from the major national retailers.
Network Rail is spending around £240 million improving the local infrastructure to divert rail freight traffic from the East Coast Main Line to the Joint Line to enable them to create additional passenger traffic on the East Coast mainline.
South Holland District Council, along with other Lincolnshire partners, has been working to make sure that the district and the environment benefits from this upgrade. In addition, the partners hope to make use of the expanded timetable in the future to be able to divert a proportion of South Holland's HGV traffic onto rail. Figures taken recently show that between 1500 and 2000 lorries a day leave South Holland for the major distribution centres.
Bruce Wakeling, South Holland's Economic Development Manager said:
"The Network Rail upgrade will happen over the next three years and it is our responsibility to make sure that the district gets the maximum benefit from this. One of the major opportunities to us is that we can use some of the available freight timetable to create a 'hub' where locally produced products are transported by rail instead of road.
"This has the potential to reduce the number of HGVs on our roads and create benefits for our local businesses which will have a knock-on effect in terms of both new jobs and existing job security. In addition, fresh produce which currently arrives from Italy and Spain by road, could be brought by rail, considerably reducing the number of lorries on our roads."
Cllr Howard Johnson, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development said:
"Although delivering this 'hub' is not part of the current Economic Development Strategy, this opportunity is something we cannot miss. Such a facility will help anchor local businesses to South Holland, reduce HGV traffic and potentially create hundreds of additional jobs and attract other major businesses to the area."