In addressing road freight operators at FTA’s Transport Manager Scotland seminar in Dunblane yesterday, Keith Brown MSP, Transport Minister, gave a clear show of support for Scotland’s logistics sector, including praise for the progress it has made in reducing its carbon emissions and the need for government and industry to work in partnership to avoid the wholesale disruption seen last year by severe winter weather.
Chris MacRae, FTA’s Head of Policy for Scotland, chaired FTA’s Transport Manager seminar. He said:
"The Minister held our Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme up as an example of how industry can lead the way in taking responsibility for measuring and ultimately reducing its carbon footprint. This is very significant at a time when Scotland must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020. With support from transport ministers on both sides of the border and some big names like ASDA joining the scheme we are confident that industry can take the lead and make meaningful environmental progress in helping Scotland achieve its goals."
The Transport Minister also underlined the importance that the Scottish Government attaches to infrastructure investment, particularly in a time of recession, and highlighted the significance of the completion of the M77 extension and the planned Forth Replacement Crossing as being vital in enabling the logistics industry to help deliver economic growth.
Last year’s winter weather brought Scotland’s businesses to a standstill; huge delays on the road and rail networks cost Scotland dearly with key export earners suffering from a severely disrupted supply chain running many weeks behind schedule. As a net-exporter of goods, the implications for Scotland’s economy of infrastructure that is not fit-for-purpose are as severe as the weather.
"While we expect harsh conditions again this year, it is important for Government and Industry to be prepared. The Minister acknowledges that Transport Scotland, local authorities and industry must work closer together to ensure the supply chain remains resilient. The recognition of the importance of co-ordinating Transport Scotland’s roads clearance plans with those of local authorities to ensure that the "last mile" of the logistics journey to or from key sites such as ports or intermodal terminals is particularly welcome."