DfT's recognition for the logistics industry to be applauded. The Department for Transport's new policy document – Delivering a sustainable transport system: the logistics perspective – has been warmly welcomed by leading industry body the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
The document is a comprehensive and far-reaching standalone statement on the role that freight plays in the economy. FTA believes that this public recognition of freight's contribution to consumer choice, living standards and economic prosperity, at a ministerial level, must be applauded.
Chris Welsh, General Campaigns Manager, said:
“Not only is this document a clear indication that the government is more disposed to treat freight and logistics with the respect it deserves, but the commitment to investment it sets out will help enable FTA and its members to deliver our ambitions.
“Key to the policy's worth is its understanding of the pressures on our industry, across the modes. For example, it now claims to look at the composition of freight traffic on key routes and 'seeks to understand more fully the factors generating freight demand on them'. This is good stuff and the DfT deserves a pat on the back for recognising that freight really does matter.”
In many respects the policy document mirrors FTA's own long-established findings by identifying important corridors, such as the M25, M6, M1 and M62. For example, the DfT surveyed the number of HGVs using the M6 corridor over 24 hour periods and on a junction-by-junction basis. From this it was able to determine the number of trucks using the road and which junctions they entered and exited from. FTA was not surprised to read that the report identified concentrated areas of freight between Birmingham and Manchester, but such research shows how important understanding how freight moves along our major corridors is to the DfT.
Other findings that the report identifies include:
Road transport accounts for two-thirds of goods moved.
The number of HGVs has reduced while the number of vans has increased markedly.
Despite the dominance of road freight, there has been substantial growth in rail freight, up by almost 50 per cent over the past decade, to a level not seen since the 1970s.
Around 70 per cent of road freight has its origin and destination within the same region of the UK .
The East and West Midlands are significant destinations for freight.
One of the main thrusts of the policy document is the need for industry and government to work together to mitigate freight's impact on the environment. FTA looks forward to working closely with government on behalf of its members to highlight those issues pertinent to future DfT investment, regulatory and policy decisions.
Chris Welsh concluded: “While the policy document represents a significant step forward in the way in which freight is recognised, it must not divert ministers' attention away from the burning issues that are on our short-range radar. VOSA modernisation, the EU Vignette and domestic drivers' hours are just some of the matters that need urgent attention if the logistics industry is to fulfil the potential that Geoff Hoon clearly believes it has.”
For further information, please contact FTA's media team on 01892 552255 or, out-of-hours, on 07985 874248 or 07818 450425.