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Transforming London: The Freight and Servicing Action Plan

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Anyone who’s ever done delivery work knows how high the pressure can be in the transport sector. Alongside concerns at profit, safety and performance, there are ever more urgent environmental issues and political considerations. It can be a delicate balance keeping the economy moving, the haulage industry protected and our environments clean – especially in big cities.

Still, UK cities aren’t shrinking from these challenges, and London is leading the way with its ambitious new Freight and Servicing Action Plan. Read on to find out more.

Ambitious Aims

The new plan seeks nothing less than a fundamental transformation of how delivery work is conducted in London. Speaking of the need to manage the ‘essential’ freight industry for the future, mayor of London Sadiq Khan emphasised the importance of an interconnected, holistic approach, working with boroughs and businesses – among others – to create a greener, more efficient city.

The Importance of Haulage

Haulage is at the centre of these plans, with the following statistics illustrating its importance to the city’s economy:

• Half of the value of all household spending relies on road freight
• Delivery work currently accounts for around a fifth of all road traffic in London
• This figure climbs to one third of all peak time road traffic in the city centre

What’s more, movement of goods vehicles in the capital has increased by around one fifth since 2010, while TfL research shows HGVs are disproportionately likely to be involved in fatal collisions.

Changes would make the city safer for everyone, as well as significantly reducing harmful emissions. For this reason, one of the mayor’s main aims is to reduce the number of HGVs in the city centre at morning peak times by 10%.

Programmes

Khan spoke of two examples: “creating a pan-London network of micro-distribution centres and rolling out innovative click and collect points at more tube stations”. These, the mayor argued, will “reduce congestion across our city” by enabling residents to pick up packages near their homes more easily.

Alongside these changes to delivery work, the plan also outlines measures to encourage businesses to consolidate their deliveries into less busy slots. The haulage industry, meanwhile, will see new incentives to adopt alternative fuels and electric vehicles.

Industry Reactions

While some firms such as DPD have already made significant adjustments, the mood across the transport sector seems to be one of cautious cooperation. Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), for instance, stressed the need for “strong leadership and guidance to ensure [proposals] are implemented holistically and consistently.”

Those doing delivery work should keep an eye on new regulations and other policies as they are implemented, and work through organisations such as the FTA to speak with a united voice when necessary.

Looking to the future, the haulage industry has a chance to play a cooperative role in shaping further policies. London is, after all, still growing, and increasingly ambitious proposals will likely be needed to manage the demands of a city of 10 million or more.
About author: Desiree Michels

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers, and is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.

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