Transport for Greater Manchester to expand its dedicated freight team

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is planning to expand its dedicated freight team to help the city achieve its regional growth plans.

Speaking to, head of logistics, environment and active travel Helen Smith (pictured), said the logistics sector remains an important focus for TfGM and it was looking to build a team to deliver the region’s new freight strategy, approved last summer.

She said: “Issues relating to logistics are a key corporate priority for TfGM. We are passionate about supporting sustainable economic growth across Greater Manchester, and the role of logistics is critical to this ambition.”

Two new roles, an intervention officer and a reporting and governance officer, have been created to work alongside Smith and the freight programme’s senior manager Richard Banks.

“We know that to successfully deliver on our strategy, we need to engage effectively with the business community,” said Banks.

“The new roles will help us to develop interventions in a wide range of areas, including technology, consolidation and last-mile issues such as increasing options for loading and unloading”.

Applications for the two posts must be submitted by 7 June.

TfGM’s freight programme saw the launch last year of a new forum open to operators and logistics stakeholders last year, with the subsequent creation of a series of working groups to tackle key challenges.

Demand for urban logistics facilities set to soar

Demand for urban logistics facilities is likely to increase fast in the next few years to meet the delivery requirements of urban populations.

But suitable property is often needed most in major conurbations such as Greater London, where it is hardest to find.

Cushman & Wakefield director Simon Lloyd said that there is already a shortage of sites in some locations.

When land does become available developers often want to maximise its use by creating denser developments with fewer, larger buildings with limited yard space.

“That does not always suit urban operations which can often lend themselves to smaller buildings,” he said.

Another problem with new development is predicting what a fast-changing market will demand in future.

Savills director Richard Sullivan, said that this is vital for the property industry to remain flexible and consider new solutions – this could include small facilities in the basement of new apartment blocks, for example.

“It is definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution and crystal ball-gazing is impossible – who knows what the next innovation will be that will affect customer expectations?” he said.

Knight Frank partner Charles Binks agreed that the exact nature of the market is yet to be established and that there will be a need for inventive thinking.

“Developers are starting to look at ‘sheds-and-beds’ schemes, for example, where residential and logistics schemes are co-located,” he said.

Segro is taking this approach and has joint plans with Barrett to redevelop a former Nestle factory in Hayes, West London, to create more than 1,000 homes and around 230,000ft2 of industrial space.

Alan Holland, Segro’s business unit director for Greater London, said:  “Logistics and residential ought to go hand-in-hand and could become a vital part of London’s infrastructure.”

Segro recently published a report called Keep London Working, which predicted that the Greater London Authority’s expected loss of former industrial land to other uses by 2031 could be reached this year. It called for an urgent review of London’s industrial land supply.

The company is working with the GLA to develop 86 acres of land in East London and recently signed up DPD for a 45,000ft2 building in Newham.

Last month Paris unveiled a scheme to enable freight operators to occupy centrally-located city hubs at affordable rates.

By Simon Jack

Greater Manchester logistics forum focuses on sustainable deliveries

Sustainable urban freight movements were a key focus of the second Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) logistics forum, held last week.

More than 60 public and private sector industry stakeholders came together to discuss ways to improve freight flow and mitigate the impact of deliveries on the urban environment across Greater Manchester.

Opening the event, TfGM chief executive Jon Lamonte announced the publication of the region’s 2040 Transport Strategy.

“This is a long-term framework to improve transport across the city region, creating a cleaner, greener, more prosperous Greater Manchester,” he said.

Manchester had also finalised its Low-Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan to ensure the city region met EU environmental targets.

“These will ensure the continued economic growth of one of the UK’s foremost city regions does not come hand-in-hand with a rise in air pollution and carbon emissions,” said Lamonte.

Measures include:  exploring the feasibility of a clean air zone; increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points; supporting sustainability in the freight and logistics sector.

The TfGM 2040 Transport Strategy follows the publication of the first Greater Manchester Freight and Logistics strategy adopted in July 2016.

Delegates were told about major highways infrastructure proposed for the Greater Manchester region, and given an insight into the skills requirements and opportunities for logistics.

Better use of urban consolidation centres was discussed by Graham Stewart from Arup Consultancy, while Sam Clarke (pictured below), director at final-mile operator Gnewt Cargo, detailed his business model of using 100% electric vehicles in London.

“We need to educate our customers; the consumer is driving our service delivery, changing our business and bringing greater complexities to the delivery. We need to educate, and legislation is assisting with this,” he said.

Clarke added that planning of business space had opened up the ability to occupy disused areas like garage parking and underground train station areas.

Allowing re-use of disused spaces located within a short distance to the user has been critical in making electric deliveries possible, he said.

“Pollution is close to my heart, Manchester must take on electric final-mile solutions,” Clarke said.

TfGM senior manager told it was “fantastic to see the expertise and enthusiasm” from both the public and private sector during the panel session, and the workshop sessions which took place following the presentations.

“This gives us great confidence that we will be able to collaborate effectively with partners as we look to deliver our Freight and Logistics Strategy,” he added.

The next TfGM logistics forum is planned for the autumn. Register your interest at

Data sharing is key in driving urban logistics innovation, says Transport Systems Catapult

Intelligent use of data is essential for the freight sector to remain competitive in evolving cities, according to Transport Systems Catapult.

Speaking at last week’s Freight in the City Spring Summit, principal technologist Andrew Traill told delegates of the role enhanced data sharing could play in boosting innovation.

He said as cities become ‘places for people’, increasingly pedestrianized with reduced capacity for road vehicles, the freight sector needs to adapt its traditional model to remain viable.

“We shouldn’t be fighting this,” he added, “this is how people want to see the world. But we need to make sure freight isn’t forgotten when these plans are made.”

Traill asked: “How are they going to achieve this separation of freight from people? How are we going to make freight effectively invisible and yet still able to do its job?”

Better use of data will play a huge role, he said, but it is essential for all city stakeholders to be willing to share their own data sets and combine them to drive transport efficiencies.

“Data on its own is fine, but it’s like oil, the real value comes when you refine it and when you manage it. Data is coming from a growing number of sources every day,” he added, “how do we fuse it and bring it together?”

Comprehensive data can be essential in helping drive innovation in urban logistics and provide a clear modelling scenario for new systems to help de-risk investment in new technology, Traill concluded.

Project work at Transport Systems Catapult aims to bridge the gap between R&D and ensuring a product is translated into a market opportunity.

It aims to ensure the UK remains a leader in urban logistics innovation and finds opportunities in an intelligent mobility marketplace estimated to be worth £900bn.

“The more we open up and the more data we share, the better our models will be, with less risk and more opportunity,” said Traill.

Operators encouraged to attend North East Freight Partnership forum

DVSA earned recognition, Brexit implications and recruitment will all be discussed at next month’s North East Freight Partnership forum on 8 March at Gateshead Civic Centre.

Operators are encouraged to come along and take part in the two-hour session, which will bring together an agenda of key industry speakers addressing issues affecting logistics in the North East.

The North East Freight Partnership was first established in 2005 (as the Tyne and Wear Freight Partnership).

It is a collaboration between freight operators, local authorities, academics, freight user groups, industry associations and anyone with an interest in freight.

Its aim is to promote safe, efficient and sustainable freight movement in the region, with a range of activities including quarterly forum meetings undertaken each year.

The meeting will take place at the Whickham Room, Civic Suite, 1st Floor, Gateshead Civic Centre on 8 March, with registration and refreshments from 10am. Register today at North East Freight Partnership to take part.


Greater Manchester and Transport for the North invite operators to freight forum

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is inviting operators to come along to its second Logistics Forum on 7 March to address the challenges and opportunities for the freight sector across the region.

The event will bring together key speakers from TfGM and the freight sector, as well as three workshops in the afternoon focusing on: vehicles; urban deliveries; and consolidation.

Helen Smith, head of logistics, environment and active travel at TfGM, said: “It’s very important to us that the forum is a partnership between the public and private sectors, working together to identify challenges and put into practice solutions to support the environmental, social and economic ambitions of the city region.

“The March summit will focus on highways projects, consolidation, alternative fuels and the implications of a possible low-emission zone for freight in the region.”

She added that the afternoon workshops would consider ways to best support the forum’s activities and will help develop pilots and case studies for sustainable freight and logistics practices, “which are scalable and give tangible results”.

“It’s intended that the Forum is a channel for collaboration, consultation and sharing of best practice, and we hope that it will in time be recognised as a significant voice for the industry in Greater Manchester.”

Directly after the logistics forum, there will also be the opportunity to take part in a workshop run by Transport for the North (TfN), which aims to garner operator feedback for its Strategic Transport Plan (STP) under development.

TfN wants to enable an open discussion to ensure the needs of the freight and logistics sector are met by the STP proposals.

The events both take place on 7 March at Innside, 1 First Street, Manchester, M15 4RP.

TfGM’s forum will run from 09.30am to 2.30pm (including lunch), with the TfN workshop held from 2.30pm – 4.00pm at the same venue.

To find out more about the speakers and register, email:



Urban Transport Group urges DfT to take a more ‘ambitious’ approach to freight strategy

The Urban Transport Group (UTG) has urged the government to take a more “ambitious, open and forward-thinking” approach to freight strategy.

Speaking to ahead of next month’s Spring Summit in Birmingham, MD Jonathan Bray said the DfT had left a “big hole” where freight strategy should be, with more work needed to address this issue.

He added. “Historically, it’s tended to be about responding to short-term issues and working closely with existing freight lobbies.

“With a lot of the interesting things happening on freight, the DfT is a bit of a bystander really.

“I think the DfT needs to take a more ambitious, open and forward-thinking strategic approach to freight.”

UTG has been working with cities to help address this lack of national focus, so they can see the benefits from working freight into their strategic transport plans.

It has undertaking research into the challenges from increasing levels of urban deliveries, and highlighted actions they could take to mitigate the impact in its report Delivering the Future.

“We’ve tried to make the freight debate more accessible to decision-makers in cities. I think the freight debate has a tendency to be locked into a lot of detail and long lists of issues,” said Bray.

“Senior decision-makers only have so much bandwidth. They want the simple way forward, not just a list of 120 problems.”

UTG suggests a formula that can be adopted in any city: transport more long-haul freight into the sub-regions by rail or water – although not ignoring the capacity constraints for modal switch – while ensuring last-mile deliveries have as little impact as possible on the urban environment.

Living cities

Cities are also increasingly setting transport strategies in response to the ‘place-making’ agenda, said Bray: people wanting places for people, with less space for vehicles, no matter what their purpose.

Far more emphasis is being placed on the urban realm and more value is being placed on city centres, all of which is exacerbated by a need to address air quality issues.

“I think the air quality imperative will get more acute with the third version of the government’s air quality strategy. I suspect it may be a more serious piece of work than the previous two,” added Bray.

“What’s happening as well is that the rest of the available road space is being squeezed and all the lobbies want their space: the active travel lobby – cycling isn’t going away and nor should it; the bus lobby is very vigorous in wanting their bus lanes; and freight and logistics need space to deliver.”

“The squeeze is on roads capacity,” warned Bray and a wider debate needed about future streets, which bring together both place-making and urban transport planners.

Embracing change

He wants to encourage the freight and logistics sector to become more engaged in the vision for future cities and the wider service agenda, as there could be plenty of opportunities for operators.

“The freight and logistics sector is very quick to take on new tech and innovation, but when people are talking about smart cities, they are thinking about apps and Uber and start-ups,” said Bray.

“The freight sector is naturally very preoccupied with logistical operations, but I think it could also present itself as a partner in the move towards smarter cities in some of these initiatives.”

A little history

UTG brings together Britain’s largest metropolitan transport authorities under one organisation to address both passenger and freight movements.

Members include the likes of Transport for West Midlands, Transport for Greater Manchester and Transport for London (TfL).

Historically, the work undertaken by UTG – formerly known as the Passenger Transport Executive Group until January 2016 – had predominantly focused on passenger travel.

However, as more and more cities began to move towards combined authorities, UTG realised a more holistic approach to all modes of travel, including freight, was needed and a name change.


At the same time that UTG shifted its focus, TfL came on board as a full member and brought with it “a huge amount of expertise”.

“They are one of the most admired transport authorities in the world right now. Certainly when I speak to people in other parts of the world they always speak very highly of London.

UTG takes a specific approach to its coverage of freight, looking to ensure it is included in the wider debate about what is happening to transport in cities.

Bray says that for too long freight has remained at the edges of transport planning debate, and its inclusion in city-wide strategies is long overdue.

“And I think that we’ve come a long way in a short space of time to mainstreaming freight within cities’ transport debates. It’s no longer kept at the margins as a fringe topic,” he adds.

UTG enables cities to share best practice and learn from other regions about the best ways to address urban freight deliveries.

“We offer cities the opportunity to work together and piggyback off existing research rather than have to do it all again themselves,” says Bray.



Freight operators urged to have their say on London Lorry Control Scheme review

London Councils is calling on freight operators to have their say on the London Lorry Control Scheme review, which it started working on last October.

It has launched a short online survey for freight operators to complete, and will also be running an Operators’ Workshop on Thursday 9 March in central London.

The workshop will allow representatives to discuss the existing London Lorry Control Scheme and the planned review in more detail, and answer any questions operators may have at this stage.

It is free to attend but you must register in advance, with a maximum of two people per company allowed to take part.

The London Lorry Control Scheme review plans to look at routing, signage and hours of operation, as well as enforcement, permissions and exemptions.

London Council also added it planned to take into account technological advancements in HGV design, as well as traffic management and planning techniques.

A steering group, which includes representatives from London Councils, TfL, the Greater London Authority and the London boroughs, is in place to provide a strategic overview of the aims of the review.

Alongside this is a working group, which meets monthly to discuss the current scheme and future options and includes freight trade associations, business federations, residents’ associations and anti-noise campaign groups.

A review of this size has never been conducted during the scheme’s three decades in operation, and the aim is for recommendations to be put to London Councils’ transport and environment committee later this year.



Effective last-mile freight is vital to support growth, says Transport for West Midlands


Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has said applying “ingenuity” to the region’s transport system is essential to keep pace with surging business and population growth.

Speaking ahead of next month’s Freight in the City Spring Summit in Birmingham, Mike Waters, head of policy and strategy at TfWM, said effective last-mile operations would play a vital role in this aim.

“As a dense urban area built on a legacy of manufacturing, which is regenerating into a new generation of advanced manufacturing and engineering, having effective last-mile freight solutions in place is becoming increasingly vital to the West Midlands,” he said.

As well as the region’s urban roads network needing to support a complex existing supply chain that drives a major proportion of UK export GDP, Waters added it was also essential to meet the needs of a growing residential population.

Indeed, the West Midlands has forecast significant urban population growth over the next few decades that will add the equivalent of a city the size of Liverpool to the region.

“At the same time we are the centre of the UK’s automotive R&D activity and inventing and exporting solutions to the rest of the globe,” Waters said.

“Our challenge is simple – we must apply the engineering ingenuity we are exporting to our own transport system in order improve the efficiency of both.”

The West Midlands Freight Strategy document has been published, and contains action plans to promote more sustainable logistics movements to support economic growth across the region.

Martin Reeves, chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority and Coventry City Council, will be speaking about work to improve the region’s transport system at Freight in the City Spring Summit on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.

This free-to-attend event brings together key decision-makes from the public and private sector to debate the challenges and solutions to adopting cleaner, safer and more efficient urban freight movements. Book your free place today!



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!