Tuesday, October 8, 2013

London Freight Forum Works with Road Haulage Interests for Out of Hours Solution

TfL Plans Policy in the Light of Olympic Games Experience
Shipping News Feature

UK – The London Freight Forum which meets twice a year and brings together elements from transport operators, businesses, trade associations, regulators and highway authorities, has unveiled details of the latest developments decided upon at its recent meeting regarding trials for out of hours deliveries and collections around the capital. The meeting, in which representatives from both the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association (RHA) were involved, builds on the success of work undertaken during last year’s Olympic Games events.

Talks are to be initiated to explore increasing the amount of freight transport outside of the busiest times of the day in a bid to reduce congestion and ensure speedy transport of goods. The trials are expected to begin early in the New Year and Transport for London (TfL) will work in partnership with the industry during the next two years to develop a wider, long term freight strategy in London. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“The out-of-hours deliveries during the London 2012 Games were another of those measures which initially raised eyebrows but in practice were a stonking success. Businesses benefited by saving money and congestion was reduced across the capital. It is exactly these sorts of innovative solutions we need to explore in order to ensure we balance the conflicting demand for space on London's roads and streets as our population continues to rise.”

A new ‘out-of-hours consortium’ comprised of TfL, key boroughs, retailers, London Councils, the FTA and the RHA will now be formed to take the lead in delivering a review of these out-of-hours operations, looking in particular at how they can be delivered more widely in the longer term without causing unnecessary disruption to residents. It will also examine what legislative changes, as well as any vehicle modifications such as further noise reduction, would be required.

High Street surveys will also take place to identify what restrictions there would be to changing delivery times at certain locations, as well as barriers, both financial and operational, which would need to be overcome by both businesses and delivery companies. James Hookham, The Freight Transport Association's Managing Director for Policy & Communications said:

“The Mayor's aspirations for London will see major changes in the way logistics works in the capital over the next few years. In addition, the anticipated swell in the capital's population means that the industry will be under pressure to deliver more. Removing existing barriers to an efficient freight industry, such as night-time delivery curfews and loading restrictions, is a must if we are to continue to support, serve and sustain London's businesses.”

TfL will also be working to revise street loading guidelines for planners, helping to ensure that the needs of the freight industry, local businesses and local residents are all considered when streets are developed and redesigned. These measures will help inform the development of TfL's longer-term freight plan, which will be consulted on with the freight industry. Jack Semple, Director of Policy at the Road Haulage Association (RHA) commented:

“The RHA is committed to working with TfL to address the challenges that lie behind the London Freight Plan. It is right to recognise the continuing progress made by the haulage industry and its suppliers in making operations safer and more efficient and that many factors are out-with the control of HGV and van operators. The concentration of demand for deliveries at peak periods of the day is a constant challenge. London's out of hours delivery trials will highlight the many potential benefits to be had from receiving goods at other times and at night, although the transport industry will be wary of further regulation.”

In July the Mayor's Roads Task Force set out to ensure the capital can cope with major population growth, support jobs and thousands of new homes and the freight legacy document produced in the aftermath of the London Games can be read HERE. TfL Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy CBE observed:

“These trials will benefit Londoners, businesses and the freight and logistics industry. It's vital we harness the London 2012 Games legacy and maintain momentum while the details of the longer-term plans are developed. Although some of these issues will not be resolved overnight, by working together, we can build on recent successes and ensure that freight deliveries in London can be even safer, greener and more efficient in future.”