A lack of forthcoming information from government agencies has left the vast majority of logistics providers in and around London feeling unprepared for the arrival of the world’s largest sporting event. In the absence of details regarding specific road restrictions during the Olympics and Paralympics, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is advising industry that it needs to do all it can to prepare for an intensely busy three-month period when there will effectively be more to deliver and less time to deliver it in.
Fewer than five per cent of respondents to an FTA survey felt ‘totally prepared’ to deal with the potential disruption presented to the supply chain by the London Olympics. Over 40 per cent claimed they are ‘not at all prepared’ in terms of hiring additional staff and vehicles. The survey also found that around a third of respondents claim to have ‘no knowledge’ of how the Olympic Route Network or Games Lanes will operate.
Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London, said:
"Commercial vehicle operators need to know which roads will be affected and in what ways – for example, will left hand turns be banned or will loading and unloading restrictions be imposed? How else can they be expected to keep up with the additional strain on demand that the Olympics is set to bring?
"The logistics sector can’t rise to the challenge unless it knows the parameters within which it is supposed to operate. For the Olympics to be remembered for all the right reasons, we would like this information to be made available well before the end of the year, the time to which the Transport for London and the Olympic Delivery Authority seem to be working towards.
"In the meantime, industry can help fill this vacuum by working with its customers – the retailers, grocers, hospitality outlets – to identify and circumvent potential problems."
FTA recommends that commercial vehicle operators:
Identify customers based directly on or nearby to the Olympic Route Network.
Work with customers to identify demand levels.
Review annual leave policy for summer 2012 – for some sectors the Olympic period will feel very much like a three-month Christmas, but it will also coincide with school holidays so it is important to develop a clear and fair policy far in advance.
"London 2012 will have a major impact on all businesses in the capital, from hotels, bars and restaurants to supermarkets and newsagents", said Hugh Basham, Transport Strategy and Policy Director, DHL. "The key challenges for the logistics industry are going to be working around the revised traffic network and delivering during the compressed window of midnight to 06:00hrs. The greater clarity we can have now on the proposed changes to the Route Network, the better we’ll be able to minimise the disruption. We are working closely with the various authorities and for the past six months have had a team focused exclusively on operational planning, from forecasting to pre-stocking and revising our delivery schedules. Fortunately we have a lot of infrastructure around London, which we can call on to support this."