The government will seek to reduce the amount of pollution caused by the domestic long-distance cargo transportation system by shifting from trucks to trains and ships, according to a draft report obtained Wednesday.
Under a five-year transport system plan, the state seeks to boost the share of trains and coastal freighters by 7 percentage points to 50 percent by 2010, according to the report.
Reducing the cargo carried by trucks will lead to a reduction in harmful emissions, it says.
The plan also aims to cut the domestic transport costs of long-distance cargo, including freight on pallets delivered to ports by ships, it says.
Palletized cargoes are standard-size loads carried by freighters and offloaded onto trains and trucks.
The government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wants to adopt these policies at a Cabinet meeting in June, after soliciting public opinion on the proposed transport system changes, government officials said.
Palletized cargo accounts for 40 percent of all long-distance cargo transported in Japan. The corresponding figure is 50 percent in the United States and 60 percent in Europe.
The draft is aimed at increasing the percentage of cargo palletized under the Japanese Industrial Standards to levels comparable with those of the U.S. and Europe.
By doing so, the government also hopes to reduce delivery time to two days from the present three to four — more in line with U.S. and European standards, according to the draft.
The draft also recommends raising the percentage of airports within a 10-minute drive from highway exits to 90 percent from the current 46 percent, and raising the percentage of ports within 10 minutes of highway interchanges to 90 percent from the current 33 percent.
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