Tuesday, September 7, 2010

UK Freight Transport Bosses Push The Case For Haulage

Meeting With Government Scheduled at a Key Moment
Shipping News Feature

UK – The mad scramble has begun; with the Government aiming to publish initial results of their Comprehensive Spending Review on the 20th October one cannot help but think that, considering the parlous state of the public finances, there will be cuts in all key areas. An appeal for ways to save money in the public sector has elicited over 60,000 responses and suggestions from voters, some inevitably a little mad or bitter but others eminently sane and practical.

Now in a pre-emptive strike the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has arranged a meeting on the 11th October with Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond to plead the case for more investment in key areas of transport infrastructure at a time when all sectors involved with public expenditure are busy pleading their cases.

The FTA has commissioned MDS Transmodal, an independent strategic freight consultancy, to help establish those priority projects based on revised demand forecasts and new baseline data for 2009/10. The FTA will appeal to the Minister to ensure he takes note of the requests which we outlined in our article of 15th July, such as heeding the Eddington report of 2006, and endeavours to gain investment for key highways and freight rail lines currently under pressure or in need of development.

FTA’s CEO Theo de Pencier set out the case for British hauliers:

“As the fate of key road and rail projects hangs in the balance we must make it clear that any short-term savings made by curtailing investment have to be weighed against the longer term costs of increased congestion and unreliability in the supply chain – a matter made more pressing by expected rises in traffic levels.

“Worryingly, those road and rail corridors that are likely to become congestion ‘hotspots’ due to greater freight growth over the next decade are already under the greatest strain - the need to make early headway on existing investment plans is obvious.

“The public purse is understandably being tightly held, but the government must not be constrained by previously held dogma in funding its spending priorities. However they are funded, FTA believes that the projects identified in the submission are simply too important to forsake.”