Thursday, July 3, 2014

Disruption for Some Road Haulage and Freight Interests as Tour de France Gets Under Way

Support Teams Arrive as Congestion and Diversion Warnings Go Out
Shipping News Feature

UK – As the UK gears up to host the first three stages of the Tour de France this weekend, British freight operators are also saddling up to keep the wheels of the road haulage industry turning during the world’s biggest bike race, not to mention helping to get the Tour de France off to a flying start as nearly 80 support vehicles destined for the upcoming Grand Départ made their way through Associated British Port’s (ABP) Port of Hull this week.

The cars, trucks, and people carriers that made up the convoy arrived at the Port of Hull’s King George Dock via P&O Ferries’ Zeebrugge and Rotterdam services, carrying vital spares and catering equipment, as well as some of the race officials. Also along for the ride was Cyrille Tricart, Head of Operations for the Tour de France, who was welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Hull and Admiral of the Humber, Councillor Mary Glew, who brought along the City of Culture bicycle which delivered the city’s winning bid for the coveted City of Culture 2017 award. Councillor Glew spoke of her excitement of the city’s participation in the event, saying:

“I’m so proud to be able to offer a warm welcome to the Tour de France, and I’m equally proud that Hull is the first Yorkshire city to welcome a contingent of Tour de France vehicles and officials.”

In tandem with the arrival of ‘Le Tour’, road freight operators and those in the supply chain peddling their goods in Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and London are a little tired by the warnings that they may be affected by congestion and increased journey times because of road closures in the areas around the route. Every year, the Tour attracts over 12 million spectators who line the route, with tens of thousands expected to support the cyclists on the UK stages, particularly as several British riders are in the frame for top spots when it starts this weekend. Details of the disruptions are as follows:

• Day one: Saturday 5 July, Grand Départ and Stage 1, from Leeds to Harrogate

• Day two: Sunday 6 July, Stage 2, from York to Sheffield

• Day three: Monday 7 July, Stage 3 starting in Cambridge and ending in Central London

Malcolm Bingham, FTA Head of Policy North of England said:

“This important sporting event will undoubtedly bring disruption to the UK road network this weekend, particularly on the Yorkshire legs and then onwards from Cambridge to London on Monday 7 July. The freight industry has been working hard to plan around the road closures to help ensure that deliveries will be made as close to normal as possible. FTA will be supporting the industry and is providing real time traffic information via its website and to Association members via email during the three British stages.”

London is expected to be congested on Monday 7 July as a large number of roads will be closed between 10am and 6pm. Roads will reopen after all riders have passed through an area and it is safe to do so. The Transport for London (TfL) website has full details of the routes and areas that will be affected and the Tour de France official Grand Départ page has a great handle on things, providing an interactive map of the road closures affecting the UK roads.

Editor’s note: Apologies for the unwarranted amount of cycling puns (particularly the most tenuous ones). Please give us a bell if you managed to spot all eleven twelve.