The Freight Transport Association has rejected assertions in a press release issued today by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers regarding its report ‘UK Freight: In for the long haul?’
The press release leads on claims that up to 30% of all road haulage vehicles on UK roads are empty, and that there are an average of 150 million preventable lorry miles each year because 65% of the UK population lives within a 150-mile radius of Liverpool Port whilst 91% of our deep-sea goods enter or leave via either Southampton or Felixstowe.
Commenting on the empty running claim, FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy, Christopher Snelling, said: “IMechE itself notes in the report that the 30% figure is not representative of the situation as it includes such things as petrol and milk tankers returning to base, where there is literally nothing you could put in them. So it is disappointing that they chose to put it forward without caveat in their press release.”
Regarding the claim of wasted lorry miles, Snelling added: “These deep sea ships will call at south-east UK ports as one call out of six or seven in the northern European sea corridor – that is northern France through to the Baltic. There is no prospect of them diverting en masse to north-west England. There are many great opportunities for maximising the use of ports like Liverpool for the UK supply chain, but for the IMechE’s press release to suggest in isolation that these road miles are simply done without need, is misleading.”
Snelling concluded: “The logistics industry is working hard to maximise efficiency and minimise social impacts like pollution. There are some good ideas and useful points in the report that IMechE has produced today. It is just a shame that in its press release it has chosen to draw attention to assertions that do not make a useful contribution to the debate.”