RFG elects Chris Swan as its new Chair

Rail Freight Group (RFG) is pleased to announce that its Board has elected Chris Swan, Head of Rail at Tarmac, to be its new Chair for the coming year. With a long career in rail logistics, Chris is a leading expert in the sector and a well-respected voice in furthering the case for rail.

Chris said: “Realising the opportunities for rail freight is something I’m hugely passionate about and I’m delighted to have been appointed RFG Chair. I’m very much looking forward to working with Maggie and the great RFG team to continue promoting the many benefits of our sector to industry and the country at large. Highlighting these advantages is particularly important against a backdrop of uncertainty in the wider rail sector and economy, as well as a climate emergency. We must work together to advocate for the shift to rail and highlight the pivotal role that rail freight can play at the forefront of sustainable transport delivery.”

Geoff Lippitt, PD Port’s Chief Commercial Officer, has been appointed Vice Chair. He said: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as Vice Chair at the Rail Freight Group after joining the Board back in 2020. Whilst the industry is still working through the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we now also find ourselves facing a new realm of difficulties as a result of the cost of living crisis and rising inflation.

“Moreso than ever before sustainability has become a central focus in our lives, both personally and professionally, and businesses are actively pursuing cleaner and greener ways to operate. This is the perfect time to amplify our promotion of the rail freight sector and all of the associated benefits whilst continuing to lobby Government for improvements to the national network. As Vice Chair, I look forward to working alongside our members to drive this agenda forward,” he added.

RFG has also elected three new Board members:
Marie Hill, Chief Transformation and Digitalisation Officer, DB Cargo UK
Mark Hooper, UK Business Development Manager, DP World Southampton
Richard Hastings, Head of Logistics for Nestlé UK & Ireland.

Marie said: “I am thrilled to be nominated onto the RFG Board. I am looking forward to helping drive the rail agenda forward, bringing modern technology, innovation and a passion for change to rail and working with the other Board members to encourage more freight to rail. My aim will be to contribute toward:
R – Raising the profile of RFG and asking how we can motivate more customers to use rail in their supply chain?
F – Forging strong relationships and bringing inspiration from other business sectors to rail.
G – Generating an agenda that encourages innovation and diverse thinking.”

Mark said: “I am delighted to join the Board at a critical time for maximising the potential of the UK’s rail network. Our investment in rail connectivity at London Gateway and Southampton has already eased traffic congestion, with the number of containers moved by train equivalent to taking 300,000 trucks off UK roads each year. I am excited at the prospect of working with the supply chain to increase the share of freight moved by rail and help the UK meet its Net Zero 2050 target.”

Richard added: “We have been exploring solutions to reduce our carbon footprint in our transport and logistics network for a number of years and we see rail as one of the key initiatives in our future strategy. Transitioning more of our logistics network from road to rail will enable us to reduce our carbon emissions, decrease the number of vehicles on the road to help relieve congestion, and ultimately improve efficiencies for our customers. I am looking forward to working with other organisations to help move more freight from the road to rail. As the world’s largest food company, I am hoping I can bring an FMCG view to the Rail Freight Group and together, we can unlock the potential of rail for the wider industry.”

Maggie Simpson, RFG Director General, summed up the appointments by adding: “I’d like to welcome Marie, Mark and Richard to the RFG Board. It is fantastic to have such a diverse group of rail experts from right across the sector supporting our business. Working together, under our new Chair and Vice Chair we will continue to make the case for rail freight growth, and work to ensure we deliver for all of our members through our policy work, events and advocacy.”

The election for these positions takes place each year, with all qualifying Board Directors eligible to stand.