With uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the forthcoming UK General Election, the voice of the country’s freight forwarders is urging the eventual occupant of Number 10 not to overlook the vital role of international trade facilitation to the UK economy.
British International Freight Association (BIFA) Director General, Robert Keen says: "Whatever the eventual shape or form of the new government, joined-up thinking is still needed on the many issues facing those involved in facilitating UK import and export traffic.
"The new government must address those issues that impact on the global supply chain, such as security, Customs, EU legislation and international trade treaties. Whilst it must meet important objectives in a co-ordinated and balanced manner, it should be done without creating barriers to trade.
"There must be greater focus on the value of freight transport and logistics in Westminster and government must help our members to develop more effective ways to manage international supply chains.
"The new government has some very important freight transport and international trading 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 strong support and strategic thinking.
"There needs to be continued initiatives to boost exports as was included in the final budget of the previous administration.
"From a transport perspective, perhaps the most important thing for the new government to deal with is airport capacity. We can only hope that after the general election in May 2015, the welter of evidence as presented will be such that there will be cross-party consensus and politicians will give the green light and adopt the Airports Commission’s recommendations in full and finally get things started on an much overdue expansion of UK aviation hub capacity.
"BIFA is resolutely apolitical and favours no party in government, but we do urge everyone involved in the corridors of power in Westminster after the results of the next election are known to ensure that those involved in the facilitation of international trade are at the forefront of government thinking and policy.
"We look forward to presenting the case for freight and logistics to the new government."