Podfather becomes Fors associate member

Transport management systems firm Podfather has signed up to be a Fors associate member.

Both Fors and Clocs-compliant vehicle walk-round checks can now be carried out by a driver, site foreman or safety inspectorhrough the Podfather smartphone app.

Data is then uploaded to a secure, central website platform for analysis and reporting purposes.

Any safety checks that show the vehicle was non-compliant cause a report to be automatically emailed to the appropriate transport fleet manager, and a ‘trouble ticket’ created in the online ticketing system.

This allows the non-compliant issue to be followed up by qualified staff following a set procedure until the vehicle is compliant again and the ticket is marked ‘resolved’.

Podfather is in use on major construction projects, such as Crossrail and Tideway, as well as by many Fors-accredited companies.

You can visit Podfather at this year’s Freight in the City Spring Summit being held at Edgbaston Stadium on 1 March.

Register today to secure your free place!

Check out the latest speakers signed up to Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March

More than 300 visitors have now registered to attend Freight in the City Spring Summit ‘Improving the last mile’ on 1 March in Birmingham.

The seminar programme is now confirmed with a strong line-up of speakers bringing together city officials and the logistics sector to promote sustainable urban freight movements.

Latest speakers joining the programme include RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding, presenting brand-new research investigating whether the surge in van traffic is the result of the online-shopping boom.

The research asks whether e-commerce is adding to congestion or actually reducing it as people do their buying from the comfort of their sofas rather than driving to the store?

Carrier Transicold’s Scott Dargan will examine the legislative changes related to the urban distribution of perishable produce and how transport refrigeration system manufacturers are rising to this challenge.

This will include insight into some of the latest and next-generation technologies which will help to minimise environmental impact, including the use of refrigerants with a lower global warming potential, alternative-fuel-powered refrigeration systems and engineless solutions.

You’ll also hear from Transport Systems Catapult about the importance of keeping pace with the latest data and technology developments bringing more efficiency to urban logistics.

“When we speak of the future innovations in freight logistics for urban areas, we mean the next few months rather than years; change is happening now, today,” said Andrew Traill, principal technologist, Transport Systems Catapult.

“If we want to prosper economically and if we want to resolve the challenges of urban growth and development, we have to embrace this change; and not just embrace and follow but, where we have expertise, we should also lead the way.”

Freight in the City Spring Summit is an ideal opportunity to network with your peers and make important new business connections, so why not take a look through the variety of organisations already registered to take part.

There will also be an exhibition of the latest equipment and services to make your city logistics operation run smoothly, as well as a small outdoor urban vehicle display area.

The event takes place on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham. Make sure you reserve your free place to attend today!

Electric-powered cycle or foot trailer to be trialled for last-mile deliveries

Trials are to take place of a new electric-powered trailer that will enable cycle or foot couriers to deliver large quantities of parcels in urban areas.

Technology being deployed on the trailer is termed ‘net neutral’, so the weight of the trailer is not felt by the handler, allowing for increased volumes of last-mile deliveries by foot or cycling.

The project team said use of such trailers would decrease van usage in urban areas, thereby reducing both emissions and congestion.

It could also lead to increased parcel drop rates and more flexibility in delivery routes.

Six trailers can be dropped into a busy city centre by a single van, allowing the trailer system to cover a large urban area.

The trailer is to be developed through the Low Impact City Logistics project, which is part of a £10m research investment by Innovate UK for collaborative R&D to improve end-to-end people and freight journeys.

A consortium led by development consultancy Fernhay, will partner with tech firm Skotkonung and the University of Huddersfield to develop the prototype, which will be tested in Cambridge by cycle logistics operator Outspoken Delivery.

Robin Haycock, director of Fernhay, said: “Delivering increasing volumes of parcels to people in dense urban environments, whilst minimising the environmental effects and saving money, is the solution that we hope to deliver with our trailer system.”

Rob King, MD at Outspoken Delivery, added: “We have over 10 years experience in cycle-based delivery and have seen huge leaps in innovation in the last few years which has contributed to cycle-based delivery being seen as a demonstrable solution to the environmental problems associated with deliveries in urban areas.”

Following successful operation of the prototype, live trials will be carried out by UPS this spring in London’s Mayfair, one of the densest delivery areas in the capital.

Peter Harris, UPS director of sustainability EMEA, said: “UPS has always prided itself on its market-leading sustainability schemes, and the Low Impact City Logistics project is no different. The UK is one of UPS’s leading markets in terms of environmental initiatives, and is a natural fit for the trial of this exciting venture.”

  • UPS director of sustainability, EMEA, Peter Harris and Outspoken Delivery will both be speaking at ‘Freight in the City Spring Summit: Improving the last mile’ on 1 March in Birmingham. Register now for your free place to attend.

Registration open for Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March

Registrations have now opened for the ‘Freight in the City Spring Summit: Improving the last mile’ on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.

This free-to-attend summit will focus on the need to think differently about how cities, businesses and operators approach last-mile deliveries to reduce freight’s impact on urban areas.

You’ll hear from major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton about the challenges they’ve faced to mitigate the impact of essential goods deliveries to businesses and residents in urban areas.

These include mandated clean air zones that need to be in place by 2020, as well as a need to reduce conflict between goods vehicles and vulnerable users, and finding ways to tackle congestion on key routes into and around cities.

Leading researcher Laetitia Dablanc will share urban logistics best practice across Europe, complemented by seminars from major operators such as UPS and Meachers Global Logistics on their work to make inner city deliveries more sustainable.

Delegates will also take a look at some of the latest technology and delivery methods emerging to the marketplace, as well as the potential of modal switch to water, rail or bicycle for relieving pressure on the roads network.

There will also be the opportunity to ask questions via a lively panel debate on the challenge of persuading consumers to accept more sustainable methods of receiving their online purchases.

“This really is a must-attend event for local authorities, businesses and freight operators to learn from their peers about more sustainable ways to handle last-mile deliveries, demonstrating how cities and industry have worked collaboratively to ensure freight journeys are cleaner, safer and quieter,” said Hayley Pink, Freight in the City editor.

The spring summit is supported by the Urban Transport Group (UTG) and Transport for West Midlands.

Jonathan Bray, UTG director, said: “Getting last-mile logistics right forms part of a much wider debate about what kind of cities we want to live in and how we want them to look and feel.

“This conference presents a great opportunity to explore innovative solutions that enable last-mile journeys to be completed as safely, unobtrusively and with as little environmental impact as possible.”

  • Reserve your place now and browse through the speakers and exhibitors taking part, or to check out the organisations already signed up to attend.

Viewpoint: the potential of rail freight in addressing urban air quality and congestion

Philippa Edmunds, manager at Freight on Rail, Campaign for Better Transport and vice-president at Transport & Environment, Brussels, tells Freight in the City why rail should play an integral role in bringing goods into the UK’s urban conurbations.

Changes in urban logistics policy as a result of air pollution violations, road congestion, the growing awareness of cycling safety as well as devolution, favour rail.  philippaedmundsfreightonrail


Because rail offers the safer, more sustainable long-distance trunk haulage element of the journey between conurbations and ports, which reduces road congestion.

Consumer goods can then be transhipped into low-emission vehicles, as long as consolidation centres and terminals are rail connected.

Already, a quarter of containers imported into England are transported long distance by rail with constant demand for more services from shippers.

Rail currently brings in 40% of London’s aggregates and could bring in more construction materials if there were more terminals in London, for example; each train can carry enough materials to build 30 houses.

Both Crossrail and the Olympic Committee used rail freight to bring in materials and remove industrial spoil.

Two night-time trials bringing freight trains into Euston showed passenger rail terminals could and should be used to bring in trainloads of freight into the heart of cities at night for onward transportation in low-emission vehicles; each of these consumer trains can remove 77 HGVs.

Why do we need to transfer freight to rail?

Because rail produces 90% less particulates and 15 times less NOX than trucks, which are key contributors to air pollution.

Rail freight additionally produces 76% less CO2 emissions than the equivalent HGV journey.

And rail freight is safer; HGVs have been six times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on urban roads over the past three years (based on the percentage of miles they represent).

Road and rail complement each other, with rail offering a low-emission, safer alternative to HGVs that helps alleviate road congestion – so each mode should play to their strengths as part of integrated freight policy.

Therefore city and local authorities, such as TfL and Transport for Greater Manchester, need to promote and support rail freight in their transport strategies by safeguarding suitable sites for intermodal terminals so that road/rail transfer stations get planning permission.

Edmunds manages the Freight on Rail campaign, a partnership between the rail freight industry, the transport trade unions and Campaign for Better Transport, working to promote the socio-economic benefits of rail freight to national, devolved and local government as well as European institutions.



Scania’s urban tipper hits the mean streets

Scania has said it will set a new level of city centre safety, following the launch of its Urban Tipper.

The vehicle, which made its debut at the Clocs exhibition staged at ExCel London last week, is equipped with a lightweight Wilcox body and a raft of safety features.

These include advanced emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), electronic stability program (ESP) and a camera monitor system, all supplied by Brigade Electronics.

The Urban Tipper breaks away from the traditional 8×4 wheelplan, introducing an 8×2*6 configuration, which is claimed to provide a more manoeuvrable chassis with three steering axles.

It also has an SCR-only 410hp Euro-6 engine, Scania Opticruise transmission and full air suspension.

Other safety features include a passenger vision door which provides the driver with a large glass panel, giving direct line-of-sight to the front nearside of the vehicle.

Freight in the City Spring Summit round-up: urban freight challenges in the North

Close to 300 delegates headed to Manchester last week to explore the opportunities and challenges facing the logistics sector through the chancellor’s Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Freight in the City Spring Summit moved the debate about sustainable urban deliveries away from  London and focused on the cities of Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield to see what role freight could play in rebalancing economic power between the South to the North.

Setting the scene was transport economist and MD of MDS Transmodal Chris Rowland, who gave the audience an overview of how the shape of freight and logistics might change in the North by 2033.

Multimodal growth, alongside additional rail capacity and investment in key highways schemes were key to keeping freight flowing freely across the expanding region.

Looking to capitalise on this growth, particularly the strength of its multimodal capabilities was the 10-district Greater Manchester city region.

Helen Smith, head of logistics & environment, Transport for Greater Manchester, told delegates that capitalising on the strength of existing assets such as Trafford Park, Manchester Airport and Port Salford would be pivotal, as would the opportunities for growth via the Atlantic Gateway development.

Changing consumer demand and the surge in city populations had seen the shift of suppliers relocating to the area to meet growing just-in-time requirements.

“Is the Golden Triangle of warehousing in the East Midlands, or now centred further North?” Smith asked the audience.

However, strong economic growth and opportunities for logistics firms would also lead to additional pressure on infrastructure and a greater need to mitigate transport activities against quality of life measures for those living and working in cities.

Greater Manchester is therefore working on its own freight and logistics plan, to complement the pan-regional work of Transport for the North.

Key measures being explored will be: the establishment of a long-term freight forum to develop good relationships with logistics firms; a Clean Air Zone feasibility study; creation of a Delivery Service Plan toolkit for businesses; more research into a Greater Manchester-wide urban consolidation centre model; and work to encourage modal shift.


Also flying the multimodal flag was Peel Ports, which highlighted the current imbalance of container freight coming into the South and being driven or rail trunked to the North: 91% of deep-sea volumes enter southern ports such as Felixstowe or London Gateway.

Warren Marshall, group planning director at Peel Ports, said major investment is taking place in northern ports and inland waterways to enhance capacity and improve environmental impact.

The soon-to-open Liverpool2 deepsea container terminal will double container handling capacity from 750,000 TEUs to 1.5 million, while the Manchester Ship Canal was predicted to see TEUs increase from 3,000 in 2009 to 100,000 by 2020.

Next up, Gareth Morgan, senior business development manager at Sheffield City Region LEP, explained how his region was making its own niche in the multimodal capabilities it could offer businesses looking to relocate to the area.

The £56m FARRS road scheme, due to open this spring, is a PPI collaboration that will provide a major new link road between Doncaster Robin Hood Airport and the motorway network, as well as the new rail-connected iPort distribution park in Doncaster.

However, he warned that changing consumer demands were leading to a shift in delivery and collection requirements, with return logistics a particular headache for operators as well as the integration of traditional retail and e-commerce stock requirements.

Different transport implications and patterns could in turn affect planning considerations for new premises, he warned.


DHL Supply Chain’s Ian Cooper, director of transport value creation, called on officials in Northern cities to adopt a consistent approach to freight management.

He warned that locally-adopted measures, such as low-emission zones and HGV restrictions, could hamper efficiency by limiting the use of certain vehicles to smaller areas.

“We serve the North as a region and not individual cities. Why is this significant? We are able to do this efficiently because we gear our operations to the scale of the region as a whole. Scale and interoperability are absolutely key here,” he added.

Ian Stansfield, transport consultant and former VP logistics services and supply chain at Asda continued to drive home the message about efficiency in the road haulage sector, particularly in an urban environment, where water and rail were of limited capability for transporting freight, he said.

He urged city officials to learn to “love the truck” and its ability to keep pace with increasing consumer demands for smaller, more frequent deliveries into traditionally congested areas.


Tackling the issue of congestion and safety at Newcastle University’s main city campus was Bruce Carnaby, urban freight development manager at Clipper Logistics.

The operator runs a successful consolidation model that has seen the university, which itself is the same size as an average small town like Buxton or Hyde, dramatically slash goods vehicle movements to campus and potentially lower its carbon impact by up to 90 tonnes per year.

Goods are taken to a Clipper-run warehouse outside of town for onward consolidation into loads destined for nine drop zones around campus, delivered by low-emission electric vehicle.

Carnaby explained that the success of the scheme was due to the university’s desire to have a safer, cleaner campus for students and the unique buying power of such a large institution which enables it to influence change with its suppliers.

“It was the first time we’d done it with an organisation with so much power and buying control over its supply chain,” he told delegates.

Rounding up the morning session was TfL’s head of freight and fleet programmes Ian Wainwright, who spoke about the 12-year learning process the freight team in London had been involved with and the lessons learned. “There is no one answer,” he said, referring to the challenges of urban freight.

London’s key priorities have been to reduce overall demand for road trips through modal shift, consolidation of freight, or even larger letterboxes; retime or reroute freight to better match the network’s capability to cope; minimise the impact of operations.

“The safest vehicle is the one that’s not there,” he told delegates.

Communication and collaboration with all freight stakeholders has been the key to driving any change in London. An established freight forum provides a platform for all parties to regularly meet, while weekly freight bulletins also keep operators up to speed with any roadworks or route restrictions, for example.

Freight in the City Spring Summit took place on 3 March at Manchester Central Convention Complex.




Freight in the City Spring Summit: DHL calls for northern cities to adopt consistent approach to freight

DHL has called for a consistent approach across key northern cities in their methods of managing freight deliveries.

Ian Cooper, director, transport value creation at DHL Supply Chain, stressed the importance of regional, rather than city-specific logistics rules to tackle the challenge of rising urban freight volumes.

Speaking at Freight in the City Spring Summit yesterday (3 March) in Manchester, Cooper told delegates that the impending empowerment of northern cities should be seen as a “celebration of the rise of the city” and one the logistics sector should embrace.

However, increasing consumer demand for online home deliveries, which is still only “at the thin end of the wedge in terms of what the ultimate impact on supply chains” will see operators making smaller, more frequent deliveries into already congested urban areas.

Individual cities with differing challenges may look towards mitigating measures such as low-emission zones, congestion charging, time and routing restrictions, for example.

Cooper warned that locally-adopted measures could aversely affect an operator’s ability to run efficiently, limiting the use of certain vehicles to smaller areas.

Instead he urged northern cities to work collaboratively and look towards adopting best-practice schemes already in operation, such as ECO Stars, Fors and Clocs rather than try and re-invent the wheel.

“We serve the North as a region and not individual cities. Why is this significant? We are able to do this efficiently because we gear our operations to the scale of the region as a whole. Scale and interoperability are absolutely key here,” he added.

“We request a collaborative approach to achieve consistency across cities, preserve interoperability and efficiency and allow us to play our part [in city growth].”

Freight in the City Spring Summit: road freight is vital to keep up with changing urban delivery demands

Learning to “love the truck” will help keep pace with changing consumer-driven delivery demands, delegates were told yesterday at the Freight in the City Spring Summit in Manchester.

Ian Stansfield, former Asda VP logistics services and supply chain, said the surge in online retail and changing consumer buying habits meant more just-in-time goods being delivered to urban areas rather than being taken to out-of-town stores.

“The whole shape of freight is changing massively,” explained Stansfield. “Consumers are shopping more locally, more frequently and when they go, they buy less.”

However, he said, one-third of deliveries to local stores or collection points face restrictions – such as preventing out-of-hours deliveries to take place – which “forces freight into congested times”.

Stansfield insisted that road haulage was playing a positive role in reducing vehicles from congested zones. He cited the example of a typical 3.5-tonne grocery home delivery van which takes, on average, 10 car journeys to the supermarket off the road, while a parcel delivery van could carry up to 50 separate packages – potentially removing 50 car journeys to a retailer.

“The consolidation of all those deliveries onto one vehicle is actually reducing emissions, reducing congestion and taking vehicles off the road,” said Stansfield.

Road transport operators had made huge strides in reducing vehicle movements and making them cleaner, safer and more efficient through better loadfill, collaboration and investment in technology, he added.

From an Asda perspective, this had seen the supermarket reducing road miles by 20 million over the past eight years, despite volumes growing by 35%.

“We just don’t shout enough about this. We don’t communicate this well to the general public and road freight continues to get a bad reputation,” added Stansfield.

He called for greater access around the clock to make deliveries and for the general public to embrace the efforts of the road transport sector.

“We need to learn to love the truck in the way we think about what we do in the future, we shouldn’t punish it, as it’s actually having a very positive impact on the amount of traffic on the roads”

Freight in the City Spring Summit: North of England operators could reap £16.2bn in efficiency gains

The logistics sector in the North of England could reap £16.2bn in efficiency gains if recommendations made in the draft Transport for the North (TftN) Freight & Logistics Strategy come to fruition.

Speaking at today’s (3 March) Freight in the City Spring Summit: Driving Growth in the North, Chris Rowland, MD at MDS Transmodal and co-author of the report, highlighted the crucial areas of investment needed to help logistics firms play their part in delivering the government’s economic growth plans for the northern powerhouse.

Looking at growth projections through to 2033, the first-ever pan-regional freight study in the UK aims to produce a public sector strategy for a predominantly private-run industry.

The report urges the government to invest in better highways connectivity from the east to the west of the region, improve cost-effective access into the North, and calls for improvements on key routes.

These include the notoriously busy M60  – “we calculated another lane will be required purely for freight,” said Rowland – as well as the potential for a new Trans-Pennine route from east Manchester to Sheffield and better access to ports.Keyline_Econic

More investment in rail and waterways would also be a key driver of growth, said Rowland, with the public sector encouraged to take a more strategic approach to land use to enable the private sector to invest in a network of multimodal distribution parks, as well as ensuring enough rail capacity is available ahead of demand.

“One of the key messages is: what can the public sector do to change the environment so that the private sector will invest?” said Rowland.