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Developing a unique export proposition

Source: RTM Aug/Sep 17

Britain has always been at the forefront of rail engineering and it is important that we maintain this reputation, writes Andy Milner, CEO of Amey and chair of the Exports Leadership Group (ELG).

The UK rail industry is a catalyst of innovation and achievement, driving significant benefit to the UK economy. As the government begins its Brexit negotiations, the rail sector must come together to showcase its skills, capabilities and products to develop a unique export proposition for the UK. The ELG is working to double exports by 2025, a genuinely realistic target. The rail industry makes a significant and valuable contribution to the UK economy; its capabilities, skills and products offer prime export potential, leveraging the nation’s position as a leader in rail. 

We can access an extensive range of capabilities that underpin our ability to deliver considerable improvements to the UK and global rail networks, providing a platform to ensure our ability to export the results of our ingenuity. However, the rail industry can be fragmented and to maximise the potential, the whole sector must be well represented throughout the Brexit process. 

The ELG will provide a co-ordinated approach that will generate an increase in UK export activity. This is achieved by capitalising on our ability to offer value and competitive solutions whilst realising and maximising inward investment. The ELG will work with partners from the industry, rail trade bodies and government departments (DIT, DfT and BEIS) to drive and expand the UK rail export market.  

To ensure this is a tangible opportunity for the rail market, we will work closely with the Infrastructure Exports: UK group, which connects organisations, enabling them to bid for global infrastructure contracts as a single ‘Team UK’ consortia, to deliver complex projects by combining their expertise. 

The rail sector can make a fundamental contribution to this new approach, and the ELG offers an opportunity to work collectively as an industry to showcase the exceptional talent, capability and intellectual solutions available from the UK rail industry. Working in partnership with experts from across the industry, the ELG will support and drive the industry to develop UK capability, double exports and increase inward investment that will improve the UK offering. 

The ELG is part of the Rail Supply Group (RSG), which is the leadership body for the UK rail supply sector, bringing together government and the private sector to champion the supply chain, from SMEs to multinational companies, in every part of the UK. Britain has always been at the forefront of rail engineering and it is important that we maintain this reputation. SMEs play a pivotal role in achieving this, bringing innovation, technology and fresh thinking to the rail sector and the ability to establish new and dynamic ways to strengthen the domestic market and grow exports. 

The inaugural meeting of the ELG in July was successful, receiving positive contributions from a number of industry leaders and the rail minister, Paul Maynard MP. His attendance demonstrated the significance of the group and highlighted it as a key priority for government, which helped to reinforce the strategic priorities of the ELG.  

The RSG recently formed a new partnership with the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to better co-ordinate shared objectives and to further strengthen the voice of industry. The new partnership will offer closer alignment and collaboration between TOCs, Network Rail and their supply chains, and give government and stakeholders a ‘one-stop shop’ for relations with the industry. Together, the RSG and the RDG can provide an even stronger voice for UK rail, presenting a united front to government and industry.  

There are some significant challenges ahead, but by working together and collaborating effectively we can achieve a successful and desirable export solution for the UK rail industry.




Mikeb   08/09/2017 at 16:37

"Britain has always been at the forefront of rail engineering..." writes Andy Milner. Surely, this country lost a great many such engineering skills over the past 40 years or so and has since lagged behind certain European and Far East countries - particularly in train building and infrastructure equipment. The article mentions British export potentials but fails to specify which domestic companies (as opposed to UK arms of multinationals) are currently selling products or services to foreign railways and train builders. I doubt that there are many at present but hope that some UK firms will come up with innovative products that the rest of the world will be queuing up for.

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