The Freight Transport Association FTA is renewing its call for a Freight Commissioner for London, to ensure the city can keep trading effectively.
FTA, which represents more than 16,000 businesses transporting goods and services across the UK and Europe, says there is an urgent need for a strong voice to champion freight transport, following the success of the new Commissioner for Walking and Cycling. In its response to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, FTA reiterates its joint call (with the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry) for the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to make the appointment a priority and help to support London’s businesses through the uncertainty of Brexit.
According to the FTA, a Freight Commissioner, working directly under the Mayor, would help to ensure the effective implementation of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy freight recommendations and develop a long term operational plan for the sector.
“London’s population is set to grow from 8.6 million to an estimated 10 million people by 2030,” says Natalie Chapman, Head of Policy for London at FTA. “This rapidly growing city already depends on reliable and efficient logistics to deliver food, clothes, documents, medicines, building and construction materials and keep life moving 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Freight is the cog around which the whole City turns – without it, London will struggle to grow further.
“London’s prosperity is built on the successful movement of goods as well as people. From home shopping deliveries, to construction materials for new houses and office blocks, every resident and business relies on the logistics industry to provide the goods and services they need. And the waste left behind must be cleared up before another day begins.
“The logistics required to keep London moving are becoming increasingly complex, and need to be prioritised. Operators have made huge strides in improving the efficiency of deliveries and servicing the capital, in co-operation with the Mayor and Transport for London, to reduce emissions and improve safety. As London’s economy reinforces its position at the heart of 21st century Britain, its freight businesses urgently need – and deserve – a champion who can ensure they are supported in providing the high-quality and reliable service Londoners have come to expect. They deserve the support of a dedicated, distinctive voice that a Freight Commissioner would provide.”
Every year more than 130million tonnes of freight are moved in and out of London by road alone, with movements by rail and water also vitally important. 3% of the capital’s workforce, equating to around 230,000 people, is employed in the logistics sector[i], with many thousands more businesses depending on the successful movement of goods in and out of the city every day.
FTA represents all modes of the UK’s freight and logistics sector, with its members operating half of the UK’s lorry fleet (more than 200,000 vehicles), moving more than 90% of the UK’s rail freight and consigning 70% of the country’s visible exports by sea and air. The UK remains a leader in logistics at a global level, ranked in the top ten countries in terms of logistics performance, and the sector contributes 11% of the UK’s non-financial business economy. In 2016, 2.54 million people were employed in logistics in the UK, approximately 8% of the UK’s workforce.