A new study published by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has revealed that rail freight contributed to the UK’s economy by bringing in £1.7bn in 2016.

The report, titled ‘Rail Freight: Working for Britain’, was compiled by consultancy firm KPMG and is based on rail industry statistics.

The results show that UK businesses benefited by £1.2bn in productivity from rail freights, while an additional £0.5bn was generated as other economic benefits.

Rail freights have also helped reduce road congestion, carbon emissions, contributed to supporting the delivery of infrastructure and minimised imbalances in regional economies.

“We can build on the £30bn worth of goods carried by rail freight, connecting more British businesses with new markets via our seaports around the country.”

According to the report, North West England, Yorkshire and Humber, Scotland and West Midlands have the highest productivity and externality benefits compared to other places in the UK, with 87% of benefits coming from outside London and South-East England.

The UK’s rail freight industry is estimated to annually transport goods worth over £30bn.

It is engaged in the movement of various goods such as whiskies, cars and clothing, cement, stone and oil.

Rail Delivery Group CEO Paul Plummer said: “Working together, the partnership railway stands ready to do more to increase the benefits that rail freight is delivering for Britain.

“As we prepare to develop new trading relationships outside the European Union, we can build on the £30bn worth of goods carried by rail freight, connecting more British businesses with new markets via our seaports around the country.”

RDG primarily represents train operators, Network Rail and rail suppliers across the UK.