Their election manifestos may be out, but the commitment to the logistics sector of the main political parties is still unclear according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA). In its own Logistics Manifesto the FTA called for future policy makers to commit to infrastructure investment for the good of the economy and the environment. However, and with less than a month before the General Election, vaguaries and unanswered questions abound.
Jo Tanner of the FTA said:
"Labour’s pledge to tackle congestion with hard shoulder running is welcome, but it is no substitute for meaningful, long-term investment in our road infrastructure. Similarly, the Fair Fuel Stabiliser, which will link fuel duty levels with bulk oil prices, is an intriguing proposition, but despite its apparent commitment to a ‘modern transport network’, the lack of an explicit nod to the logistics sector does not engender much faith in the Tory manifesto either. Meanwhile the LibDem proposal to create a UK Infrastructure Bank is, again, a nice idea, but only if investment in our crumbling infrastructure is guaranteed."
The three main political parties have between them weighed in on some vitally important areas affecting the logistics sector, from aviation tax and High Speed Rail, to a third runway at Heathrow and road pricing. However, a firm commitment to improving the UK’s entire transport infrastructure across road, rail, sea and aviation sectors with intelligent investment is noticeable by its absence.
"What is clearly lacking is a joined-up commitment to improving infrastructure. To bring the greatest environmental and commercial benefits, the logistics sector must be treated as a whole. You simply cannot deliver an efficient supply chain by focusing on one mode of transport at the cost of others. For example, it is no good investing in rail at the expense of road, as the LibDems seem to extol: their successes are inextricably, and literally, linked.
"Holistic infrastructure investment is the only way to meet ongoing capacity and environmental challenges as, when it comes to the supply chain, we are really only as strong as our weakest link."