Monday, May 10, 2010

Freight Associations Call For Political Parties To Not Forget Their Industry

Concerns That Importance of Freight Not Be Overlooked
Shipping News Feature

UK – The news that the UK election has resulted in a hung parliament, where no party has a clear mandate to govern and an extremely rare occurrence in British politics, has not diminished the call from the country’s freight associations to rectify what they see as some of the inadequacies and failings in the British establishment’s policies on the freight industry.

Their concerns are now more vocal as the fear is that the political ‘back-stairs’ deals currently being negotiated between the parties may mean that this vital industry is once again overlooked.

Peter Quantrill, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) which represents over 1400 freight forwarding and logistics companies, says that the eventual occupant of Number 10 must ensure that the trade facilitation and international transport needs of UK businesses are given appropriate priority in the difficult funding decisions to come.

“Whatever the eventual shape of the new government, joined-up thinking is still needed on the many issues facing those involved in facilitating UK import and export traffic,” he said, adding that:

“There must be greater focus on freight transport in Westminster and government must help our members to develop more effective ways to manage international supply chains.

“The new government of whatever shape and form that it eventually takes has some very important freight transport issues to consider. The state of the UK road infrastructure must be at the forefront of government thinking. Congestion needs to be planned out of all modes of UK transport. UK ports and harbours require stronger support and better strategic thinking than was shown recently in the National Policy Statement for Ports."

Meanwhile, the Road Haulage Association (RHA), which looks after the interests of the UK’s road freight operators, has also called for policies that it believes are essential to its members and which give due recognition to the critical role that road transport plays in the British economy.

The RHA wants to see the cancellation of the inflationary increase in fuel duty that was implemented by the previous government in order to stabilise the price of fuel, which has increased dramatically over the last ten years, and to bring the UK’s diesel duty levels into line with those elsewhere in the EU.

In addition, they wish to see changes made to way trucks are taxed, secure parking areas for overnight stops for safety and crime prevention and greater allocation of road space to freight vehicles which are delivering in towns and cities.

“It is essential that the future Government work with the Road Haulage Association across a range of issues to promote high standards in the road haulage and logistics industry”, said the RHA’s Chief Executive, Geoff Dunning.

“We look forward to engaging positively with them helping achieve the economic regeneration that the UK economy needs”.