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Food and drink transport costs

Evolving lifestyles and changes in standards of living are putting increased pressures on our transport system, particularly in the food and drinks sector where the cost of “food miles” is becoming a major environmental issue. Against this background, the Department for Transport (DfT), has commissioned major surveys of the Food and Drink transport sectors stemming from the DfT strategy for Sustainable Distribution

The DFT has commissioned SCALA Logistics Consulting to conduct these surveys exploring the efficiency of the transport of food and drink in England, whether carried by manufacturers, retailers or logistics companies. John Perry, Managing Director of SCALA, says “Our changed lifestyle means more goods are being delivered, often over much longer distances. We have also become accustomed to very high standards of product, in terms of variety, on-shelf availability, and quality. Within the food industry, quality, especially in fresh produce, often means travel from distant areas where produce is in season, and frequently means additional packaging to ensure unblemished condition”.

Mr Perry added that these pressures, together with a growing and increasingly mobile population, make a safe, reliable and environmentally friendly transport system ever more difficult to achieve.

SCALA project manager for the DfT survey, Graham Stubs, told us that the overall aim of the Department for Transport is the creation of a sustainable transport system which is safe and reliable, and available for everyone. It should also be integrated and it should, indeed must, make as little impact on the environment as possible.

Mr. Stubbs added “Some improvements in efficiency of vehicles and the way that they are used has helped to curtail the environmental impact of commercial vehicles, but there is still every reason to find further opportunity for improvement and to press for its achievement.”

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