The Freight Transport Association says a ban on roadworks on major routes in Northern Ireland over Christmas and the New Year will be of huge benefit to transport operators at their busiest time of year.
Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen announced that works in Belfast, Lisburn and Londonderry would be halted from today until 4 January to allow traffic to flow freely and ensure deliveries are not disrupted.
Seamus Leheny, FTA’s Policy & Membership Manager for Northern Ireland, said: “FTA members across Northern Ireland face their busiest few weeks in the build-up to Christmas as they make sure our local shops, restaurants and bars are stocked and that gift parcels are delivered to homes.
“Hopefully operators will save vital time in making their deliveries, thus ensuring the public can enjoy the festive period.”
His comments were echoed by a number of FTA members. Charlie Stevenson, Logistics Manager at drink distributor James E McCabe Ltd in Craigavon, said: “We welcome this decision as the Christmas period is our most demanding delivery schedule. We have our largest orders at this time of year so this decision will hopefully make it easier and more efficient in getting our goods to shops, bars and restaurants.”
And Willy Marley, owner of haulage and courier service MMK Express in Newtownabbey, said: “Belfast can be very frustrating with regards to getting deliveries made and it’s even worse in the build-up to the Christmas period which is our busiest time of year due to the high volume of parcel deliveries. This decision is common sense and is very much welcome.”
The ban has been successfully implemented in previous years. However Mr Leheny added that the provision of more HGV loading bays in urban areas, particularly in Belfast city centre, would improve the situation even further.
“This would ultimately benefit not just our members in easing access but would mean local businesses get their goods on time,” he said.