Thursday, March 7, 2019

Demand for Freight Commissioner for London as London Mayor Releases Logistics Strategy  

Call for Political Leadership After TfL Report Published

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Shipping News Feature UK – Three business organisations the Freight Transport Association (FTA) representing the logistics sector, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), are calling for the Mayor of London to appoint a dedicated Freight Commissioner to support the implementation of his transport strategy. Reacting to the publication of his Freight Action Plan by Transport for London (TfL), released today (7 March 2019), the group is calling for political leadership to ensure his freight policies, including Vision Zero and the ultra-low emission agenda, are implemented holistically and consistently across London’s 33 boroughs. Natalie Chapman, Head of South of England and Urban Policy at FTA, said:

“As a thriving city, London depends on reliable and efficient logistics to deliver the goods and services businesses need to operate. The logistics sector is more than willing to support the Mayor of London in his vision to make London’s roads cleaner and safer, but we need the political leadership and support to do so; there is an urgent need for a strong voice to champion freight transport and its particular interests and concerns across London.

“With many new initiatives in the pipeline, including the Ultra Low Emission Zone and Vision Zero, a dedicated Freight Commissioner is necessary to ensure these schemes are designed holistically and adopted consistently across the capital’s ever-changing landscape. Without this, London’s 33 boroughs may end up implementing schemes in slightly different ways, which would make the regulatory environment even more complex than it currently is for the logistics industry, a sector which underpins the capital’s entire economy.

”We also need to ensure more space is acquired for logistics operators, to support the uptake of cleaner vehicles such as electric vans which require areas for micro-consolidation and overnight charging, and to ultimately ensure logistics businesses can continue providing the high-quality and reliable service Londoners have come to expect.”

Speaking in her role as London Policy Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, Sue Terpilowski OBE, commented:

“With the population growth of London continuing to increase and the move towards online services and greater levels of construction, there is a clear and present need to develop a more holistic strategy for freight and deliveries for businesses taking place around the capital. We urge the Mayor to give Freight parity of esteem with other forms of transportation by giving an expert in the field of freight a Commissioner status.” Sean McKee, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) emphasised the view, commonly held by logistics and road haulage operators, that theirs is the ‘invisible industry’, saying:

“Freight plays a vital, but not always appreciated, role in our everyday lives, from the stocking of our shelves to delivering raw materials to construction sites, to supporting industries such as housebuilding. As London heads towards ‘megacity’ status over 10 million citizens by 2030, the demands on the capital’s transport network, and of its residents and businesses for services and supplies, have never been greater.

”Because of this, LCCI argue that freight should be given greater prominence in London’s strategic plans going forward. Consequently, LCCI believes that a Freight Commissioner would help deliver a long-term holistic strategy for freight that the capital needs in order to accommodate a sustained increase in demand.”

Just last week Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan in great detail backing up the FTA’s position and widely quoting Natalie Chapman’s previous comments. The letter can be read in full HERE.

Photo: Courtesy of the London Assembly.

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