Monday, June 2, 2014

Express European Logistics Group Talks to MP about Road Haulage and Air Freight Disruption

Knock On Effect as Night Time Works Impact Supply Chain
Shipping News Feature

UK – Only too often we see road haulage and other freight groups penalised by works intended to improve the country’s infrastructure, as was the case during the Olympics in London 2012. In that case industry groups joined forces to try and ameliorate the disruption and present a united front when protesting about the problems caused, but now one company in the West Midlands has acted as spokesperson over ongoing disruption caused to local logistics by essential road works.

Bespoke Distribution Aviation (BDA) which is based near to Coventry Airport specialises in time sensitive delivery of spare parts and vital components for the automotive, media and agricultural sectors and is having to battle the constraints caused by the ongoing works, which are coming at a cost of £105m and won’t be completed until 2016.

BDA has eight gateway hubs for both air and road line haul routes across Europe, including Germany, France, and Ireland. The firm flies freight into Coventry overnight in order to meet next-day delivery times. If this freight is then held up on the road network, it has a knock on effect on the wider supply chain whilst BDA is currently having to send numerous vans out on the road for deliveries in order to maintain delivery schedules.

The roadworks have caused major headaches to businesses and motorists alike, with some workers in the area complaining that they are extending their journey to and from work by up to two hours each day. The company recently arranged a private meeting with local MP Jim Cunningham to discuss the issue, during which it called for greater communication from the Highways Agency in order to minimise the risk of a knock-on effect to the global supply chain caused by late delivery of goods.

The company emphasised to the MP the importance of the local road network to the freight companies in the area and that many of these operate during the night which is when disruption is at its peak. European Managing Director Kevin Turner explained:

“Many of the roadworks are taking place at night because there is an assumption that few people are using the road network at this time. We rely on the road network at night in order to deliver goods on time. We are still meeting our customers’ demands, we’re not losing any business and we’re still growing, but the night time temporary road closures - when we’re at our busiest - and constant diversions are costing us a lot of money, and this means we can’t employ more people.

“Some of the boxes we deliver contain time critical medical equipment and supplies that hospitals up and down the country rely on in order to treat their patients. If these aren’t delivered on time then this has a direct impact on people who are in desperate need of urgent medical care. The situation changes each day, and the major issue is a lack of communication between businesses and the Highways Agency and their contractors.”

Mr Cunningham concurred that it wasn’t fair that businesses were being impacted in such a serious manner and stressed his opinion that the Highways Agency must do more to communicate with BDA and other businesses in the area. He commented:

“Everybody understands that the roadworks have got to be completed, but we think there can be improvements in relation to flow of traffic - particularly at night time, when this company is doing business. With a bit of give and take we can mitigate some of the problems and it’s important that the Highways Agency have discussions with BDA and other companies in the area. We’re going to meet with them and put some of these points to them.”

Photo: Left to right: BDA Operations Director Alison Brindley, BDA European Managing Director Kevin Turner, MP Jim Cunningham, Cllr Jim O'Boyle.