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.

Transport for Greater Manchester wants to hear about your delivery challenges

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has recently established a Freight Forum and opened an online survey to understand the issues facing operators in the city.

The RHA and TfGM would like to know what operational issues are faced on a daily basis, the specific location of these issues and thoughts on what can be done to improve the situation.

They would encourage operators and retailers to give their drivers and store staff, as well as management, the opportunity to have input to this survey.

If you would like to be involved or updated regarding future GM Freight Forum events and developments, you can register your interest by emailing

M62 and M6 congestion hotspot to trial £7m traffic management system

Highways England is to start work on a £7m pilot scheme to cut congestion along the M62 near Warrington in Cheshire this month.

The project at Croft Interchange – where junction 21a of the M6 meets junction 10 of the M62 – aims to give drivers more reliable journeys along the eastbound M62, one of the busiest commuter congestion hotspots in the region.

From next summer, smart motorway technology, such as electronic information signs and variable mandatory speed limits on the M62, will be used alongside traffic lights on the motorway link roads from the northbound and southbound M6.

Andy Withington, Highways England programme delivery manager for the North West, said: “This is an opportunity to combine existing technology and traffic management systems in a novel way to see whether we can give drivers using the frequently congested eastbound M62 lower journey times during peak hours and smoother, more reliable journeys.”

The new system will be monitored for up to one year, and if successful, could be used on other motorway to motorway slip roads in the UK.

Large elements of the pilot project will also form part of the permanent M62 junction 10 to junction 12 smart motorway system between Warrington and Manchester, which is due to start construction during 2018/2019.


Coalition pushes for Lower Thames Crossing decision

A coalition of businesses and freight groups have signed a letter urging the chancellor to make up his mind on the preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing.

They say a new crossing would make a significant contribution towards two of the country’s most significant economic challenges – the need to increase productivity and levels of exporting.

The letter highlighted DfT figures, which estimated that traffic through “the highly unreliable Dartford crossings” will grow by 41% over the next 20 years.

It added: “It is imperative that we have high quality infrastructure to help alleviate this bottleneck to maintain fluidity and allow us to boost trade and compete with the continent.

“Businesses across the South East, Midlands and the North need reliable journey times to make critically important operational decisions which rely on just-in-time processes for trade and commerce.”

Signatories include DP World, the FTA, RHA, Eurotunnel and Essex Chamber of Commerce.

London’s first Quietway route diverts cyclists off busiest roads

The haulage industry welcomed a scheme to help cyclists and other vulnerable road users avoid some of London’s major traffic routes, which opened between Greenwich and London this week.

London’s Quietway route is a signposted route which passes through four London boroughs – Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It includes more than 2km of traffic-free paths for cyclists linking Greenwich and Waterloo via  backstreet roads.

Marked with purple-branded signage, Quietway 1 connects with other cycling routes in the area including the North-South Cycle Superhighway (CS6) at Webber Street and Cycle Superhighway 7 (CS7) at Great Suffolk Street.

The route has been delivered by TfL, the local boroughs and cycling and walking charity Sustrans. It is the first Quietway route to be delivered with six additional routes due to be complete by spring next year.

RHA national policy director Jack Semple said the scheme was long overdue: “It is exactly in line with what we have been calling for, for some years.

“RHA has always advocated ways to take cyclists off major routes in London and create safe spaces for them that also minimise their impact on vehicles using these routes, particularly given the volume of cyclists we anticipate will be on London’s roads in the future, so it is very welcome,” he added.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the scheme lays the foundations for a larger cycling network across London: “It is important that we make it safer and easier for Londoners to cycle across our city and we want the first of the Quietways to make a significant contribution towards that aim,” he added.



Greater Manchester freight forum builds momentum

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has taken the first steps towards creating the city region’s first-ever freight forum.

Last month it hosted a workshop to find out what challenges logistics firms faced when operating across the 10-district region, and to define the sector’s role in Manchester’s economic growth plans.

Helen Smith, head of logistics and environment at TfGM, said it was “an exciting time” for the region bringing opportunities for operators through projects like the Atlantic Gateway, as well as devolution giving Manchester more control over road and infrastructure investment.

Paul Davison, principal consultant at Aecom, which will head up the new forum, said the group would be “truly representative” of the industry, drawing together businesses from across the whole supply chain and the public sector.

“We are ambitious about what this forum can achieve,” he added. “We want to be at the vanguard of doing things that might not have been tried before, or in a different way. We don’t just want quick wins; we want it to really have an impact.”

Themes raised on the day included tackling congestion at key pinch points such as Manchester Airport; ensuring HGV compliance standards aligned with those in other cities; helping operators to obtain customer buy-in for changing delivery habits; and ensuring the right balance between carrot and stick when it came to implementing new rules for freight.

A proposal was put forward on the day to use of the city’s tram network to transport freight by adapting existing rolling stock. A similar trial was carried out in Amsterdam during 2007/08 which brought goods into the city centre and brought out waste paper as a backload. Each converted tram could carry the equivalent of four 7.5-tonne trucks.

Modal shift away from road, out-of-hours deliveries, consolidation centres, and the use of Delivery Servicing Plans and construction logistics plans to mitigate the impact of building sites were also being encouraged.

Smith added: “We absolutely want to get this right. We want the forum to be really worthwhile and make a difference on the ground.”

The forum will be officially launched in September and operators are encouraged to get involved now in shaping its agenda:



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.


FTA welcomes TfL’s east London river-crossing plans to tackle congestion

The FTA has welcomed TfL’s plans to improve cross-river connectivity across east London, which will help relieve congestion hotspots for freight operators such as the Blackwall Tunnel.

TfL’s Connecting the Capital vision proposes 13 new bridges and tunnels, which will boost the number of river crossings between Imperial Wharf and Dartford by more than a third.

They are to be built to support the predicted population rise in London from 8.6 million to 10 million by 2030 and relieve pinch points on existing infrastructure.

The majority of new river crossings will be in east London, where population growth is predicted to be highest. There are currently just three road crossings in the 23km between Tower Bridge and the M25.

A consultation was launched yesterday on two of the proposed crossings to improve connections between east and south-east London: Gallions Reach to link Thamesmead and Beckton; and Belvedere, linking Belvedere to Rainham.

It follows a previous consultation, now closed, on a new crossing at Silvertown, which would connect Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks.

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London, said she welcomed the proposals as cross-river connectivity in east London is “extremely poor” in comparison to west London.

At present, the alternative crossing in east London is the Blackwall Tunnel, with its 4m (13.1ft) height limit restricting access for taller lorries and leading to lengthy detours to the M25 to cross the Thames.

Chapman added:  “The Blackwall Tunnel is a key pinch point on the capital’s network, it is unreliable and the regular congestion around it means the local area suffers particularly from poor air quality.  FTA fully supports the proposals for a new crossing at Silvertown and today’s announcement of plans for additional crossings further east is good news for business.”

TfL added that each crossing could cost up to £1bn, with costs partly funded by a charge for vehicles to use them, which it said would also help manage demand.  No decisions have yet been made on costs.

TRL launches road accident investigation course for fleet managers

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has today launched a new CPD-accredited vehicle accident investigation course for fleet, operation and health and safety managers.

It is designed to equip those responsible for fleet management with the skills to address issues arising from incidents involving company vehicles and staff.

The two-day course will teach attendees to understand, investigate and assess vehicle accidents.

Participants will be given the introductory skills required to analyse physical evidence and produce conclusions about the circumstances of an accident, with topics covered including: health and safety considerations, injury causation, vehicle examination, reconstruction methods and report writing.

Upon completion of the course, TRL said attendees will be able to:

  • Capture potentially critical short live evidence from incident scenes;
  • Investigate, understand and take corrective actions following an accident;
  • Support the staff disciplinary process with evidence if necessary;
  • Advise the company’s legal position following an accident;
  • Base future vehicle safety policies, investment and actions on facts.

Individuals attending the course will also gain 11 CPD hours, which can be allocated to their professional development record.

“The course is not about teaching fleet managers how to manage their fleet effectively,” said Helen Cotton, safety and technology group manager at TRL. “It’s about arming them with the skills needed to investigate and gather facts from accidents. This not only helps to facilitate decision making and corrective actions, but can inform an organisation’s legal position and help reduce insurance costs.”

“Even minor injury accidents can result in stress, lost productivity and criminal or civil litigation, so it’s imperative that businesses understand the appropriate steps to take to mitigate these risks,” she added.

The next training course is scheduled to take place at TRL’s offices in Wokingham on 11 – 12 November 2015. For more information on the course, availability and booking details please contact at or 01344 770137.

Highways England wants feedback on key roads challenges facing logistics operators and customers

Highways England is keen to hear from transport planners, fleet operators and drivers about the best method to interact with them about the latest road network information.

It also wants to find out exactly what facts and intelligence operators need, as well as gain a better understanding of the key roads challenges facing them in their day-to-day activities and the impact on their businesses.

An online survey was launched at last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London by the CILT, on behalf of Highways England, to seek the views of those working in logistics planning, ‘on the road’ planning, operations, drivers and end customers.

CILT said this is a key opportunity for all those involved in road transport operations to voice issues or concerns about the current systems in place for information sharing and communication and to ensure its views are represented to Highways England.

The survey, which closes on Friday 20 November, will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Please click here to begin.