The Freight Transport Association has told new Secretary of State for Transport Ruth Kelly that efficient freight transport is of vital importance to both the economy and the environment and that it is essential for the Government to create a transport operating environment fit for the purpose. In a letter to Ms Kelly, FTA Chief Executive Theo de Pencier has listed a series of expectations which are required of the Government by the supply chain in order that freight transport can be conducted in the most efficient, economic and environmentally friendly way possible. These are:
– Understand, respect and champion the role and importance of logistics and the UK supply chain. Appreciate the unique skills and expertise which drives the availability of a massive range of goods and services at an equally massive number of locations throughout the UK, serving both the economy and the consumer.
– Understand and help us overcome the challenges of the near and medium term future and the prospect of a 30 per cent increase in imports together with a 20 per cent increase in road traffic, resulting in road and rail congestion which is itself both wasteful of everybody's time and of an enormous element of the nation's wealth. Congestion is the curse of the UK supply chain.
– Secure long-term, sustainable and stable financing for transport infrastructure projects which both recognise and provide for a sound economic and social return, to the benefit of our 21st century society and economy.
– Develop integrated and sustainable port policies which reflect the multi-modal nature of supply chains – sea, rail, road – and the increased globalisation of the British economy.
– Progress the present proposals for planning reform to enable delivery of essential transport infrastructure developments as soon as possible without the senseless waste of time and money which result from the current system.
– Encourage, promote and nurture the ongoing contribution to both air quality improvements, carbon reduction and road safety by advanced technology. The last 20 years have seen outstanding progress in these areas and the next 20 years can achieve similar success.
– Recognise and provide for our industry to enjoy access and facilities to enable the operation of collections and deliveries in both urban and rural environments. Cities cannot function without the delivery of supplies; agriculture requires the collection of its produce; goods do not arrive at shops, offices, factories or anywhere else without the operation of a delivery vehicle. These needs must be acknowledged, tolerated and provided for by central and regional government, and by local authorities.
Theo de Pencier said, 'An efficient supply chain underpins the economy and makes a real contribution not only to the wealth of the nation, but to the lifestyle and comfort of the whole population. UK transport and distribution is a success story that should be recognised, celebrated and assisted.
'Ruth Kelly and her colleagues have a massive responsibility to support the freight transport industry and FTA and its members wish her well in this challenging role.'