Liberal Democrat London mayor hopeful Pidgeon backs rush-hour HGV ban

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon has called for a peak-time ban on HGVs in central London as part of a package of measures to reduce road freight movements in the capital.

If elected, Pidgeon wants to launch a new freight strategy for London that includes incentives for switching commercial deliveries to cargo bikes where appropriate, and encourages use of greener vehicles and the sharing of good practice across the industry.

She has lent her support to the recently passed London Assembly motion that called for a rush-hour ban on HGVs inside the congestion charging zone, subject to TfL’s impact assessment.

“We know that seven out of eight cycling fatalities in London this year involved collisions with lorries and that 40% of cycling fatalities involving lorries occur in the morning rush hour.

“Not only do HGVs tend to clog up the roads in central London, they are also dangerous for cyclists. Some form of peak time HGV ban, including construction traffic, could help ease congestion and make London’s roads safer,” Pidgeon said.

Making the switch to cargo bikes is also high on Pidgeon’s wish list, to try and mitigate the increase in van usage within the capital, which TfL predicts to rise by 22% between 2011 and 2030.

She said that research suggested 25% of commercial deliveries could be carried out by cargo bikes, which would help relieve freight traffic’s “considerable contribution” to London’s congestion challenge.

Consolidation centres would also play a larger role should Pidgeon be elected mayor, which she said played a successful part in the delivery of the London 2012 Olympics.

“The concept is that rather than everyone using their own vehicles to make deliveries to their final destinations in congested areas, a hub is created in a low congestion area where deliveries are brought to, before being redistributed or consolidated in a lower number of vehicles that then make the final part of the journey in a far more efficient way,” she said.

Pidgeon said consolidation centres have already been developed in some London boroughs since 2012, so “logistics know-how is being advanced”.

The consolidation centre at the Port of Tilbury could be used to increase the use of the River Thames for transporting freight, for example.

“We need to further develop and expand the use of consolidation centres so that it becomes far more comprehensive and includes a much larger proportion of light goods vehicle traffic,” Pidgeon added.







TfL consultation launched on requirement for lorries to fit extra windows to enhance direct vision

TfL has today (22 Jan) launched a consultation on the requirement for HGVs to fit extra passenger door windows to improve visibility of cyclists on the nearside of the vehicle.

Under the proposals, first announced last September, lorries operating in the capital would be required to fit an additional window in the lower half of the cab door at a cost of around £1,000-£1,500 per lorry.

TfL said the only exceptions would be “a handful of lorries where retrofitting is not physically possible”.

London mayor Boris Johnson said: “The danger caused by HGVs to other road users is unacceptable and we have to reduce it. With the launch last year of my Safer Lorry Scheme, we have already made real progress.”

He added that nine cyclists died in London last year, the second-lowest number ever, but that seven of the fatalities involved a lorry.

“That is why we have to press on to the next stage. The cost per lorry is modest. The benefit to Londoners’ safety will be significant,” Johnson said.

However, the proposals for retrofitting windows previously came under fire from the freight industry as it was feared they would add significant cost.

Today’s consultation asks Londoners whether they support the principle of the scheme and the best way to enforce the new windows – whether through an extension to the Safer Lorry Scheme, or higher charges for non-compliant lorries under the Congestion Charge or Low Emission Zone regulations.

It also asks whether the restrictions should be full-time, part-time or route-specific.

TfL said implementation of any measures will involve close working with stakeholder groups, and the development of a legally enforceable “direct vision standard”.

Time would also be allowed for operators to make the necessary changes to their lorries.

The consultation paper also describes other potential modifications being explored for the future, such as lower cabs, larger windows and increased use of technology.

The consultation on side windows ends on 4 March.


CCF adds Mercedes Econics to London fleet to boost cyclists’ safety

Building interiors manufacturer CCF has invested in two new Mercedes-Benz Econics to help protect vulnerable road users on urban delivery routes across London.

Operating from CCF’s East London and Borehamwood branches, the company said the low-entry Econics will give its drivers improved all-round visibility and enable eye contact with cyclists at the nearside front of the vehicle.

The two new trucks will be fitted with electronic proximity alerts, standard across all new CCF fleet vehicles, while one also features a jubilee Moffett truck-mounted forklift bought at the manufacturer’s 70th anniversary charity auction.

All CCF drivers operating within the capital have also completed a safe urban driving course.

CCF belongs to builders’ merchant chain Travis Perkins, which is a Fors gold member as well as a Clocs champion and sits on the advisory boards of both schemes.

Graham Bellman, fleet director for CCF and Travis Perkins, said: “Investing in two Econic trucks to complement the additional safety features of our new CCF fleet, alongside a further two for our Keyline and Travis Perkins merchant businesses, allows us to offer unrivalled standards of protection to vulnerable road users in the capital whilst offering a first class delivery service.”

International partnership aims to halve road freight’s CO2 emissions by 2050

A new international partnership focused on tackling road freight emissions was launched at last month’s COP21 climate change forum in Paris.

Its aim is to explore the “currently untapped and unmapped potential” for reducing emissions through better fleet optimisation and collaboration between road freight operators.

Truck manufacturer Scania, operators Nestlé and UPS and optimisation firm Route Monkey have all signed up to the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi), which aims to help meet a science-based target of a 48% drop in absolute emissions between 2010 and 2050.

The partnership is led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and will see companies developing a series of emission-reduction programmes during 2016.

This will be followed by real-world testing in 2017 and 2018.

Ideas being explored include improving the accessibility of the latest fleet optimisation tools to SME operators, co-optimisation of multiple fleet movements through a common ICT platform, and the sharing of assets such as distribution centres and fleet vehicles.

Scania said enhancements in vehicle connectivity and the digitalisation of fleets would play a key role in improving future road freight efficiencies.

“Digitalisation will provide road haulage and transport buyers with a strong tool to take control of the entire logistic chain in order to optimise transport flows,” said Urban Wästljung, senior adviser at Scania.

“Connectivity in combination with new vehicle technology and renewable energy is a game changer in the transition to a sustainable transport system,” he said.

He added that in addition to optimised route and load planning, connectivity can also help reduce CO2 emissions through boosting fuel efficiency and improving driver performance.

Colin Ferguson, CEO of Route Monkey, said: “Route Monkey’s optimisation already today cuts carbon emissions and overheads by up to 20% for more than 400 fleet customers.

“By combining selected fleets through this WBCSD initiative, we will from next year enable additional efficiency improvements of 15% with diesel, and up to 60% with alternative fuels.”

Alan Gershenhorn, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for UPS, added: “With a recent International Transport Forum study projecting that freight volumes could quadruple by 2050, the initiative is an important catalyst to spearhead solutions to help manage and mitigate transport sector emissions.”

The WBCSD said the transport sector produces around 23% of total energy-related CO2 emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from transport are one of the fastest growing sectors, while emissions from freight transport have been growing even more rapidly than those from passenger transport.

This is expected to continue to be the case, particularly in emerging and developing economies.



FM Conway gets Econic in London

Construction company FM Conway has taken delivery of two Mercedes-Benz’s Econics.

The tipper-grabs are claimed to be the first of their type in service in London based on the Econic chassis.

Supplied by Dealer Sparshatts of Kent, FM Conway’s new trucks are both 8x4s single front steer axles, double-drive bogies and rear-steer axles.

Mercedes claims this provides a tighter turning circle and better maneuverability compared to a standard 32-tonne construction eight-wheeler.

The Econics are equipped with safety cameras, Fruehauf Hardox steel tipping bodies and Epsilon M135 radio remote-controlled cranes with clamshell buckets.

Transport Manager Peter Parle explains: “Road safety is paramount for FM Conway. It is vital that the construction industry does what it can to reduce the risk our vehicles pose to other road users, while also ensuring that our drivers go home safely.”

Dennis Eagle soars into construction sector with low-entry Elite 6 chassis

Dennis Eagle is building an urban skip-loader version of its low-entry Elite 6 chassis to go out on trial with operators as part of the Clocs initiative next spring.

The Warwick-based manufacturer, already a major player in the low-entry RCV market, is now aiming to gain a foothold in the urban construction and general haulage sectors.

It will offer its Elite 6 chassis initially as a 4×2 skiploader as part of Clocs programme, with six and eight-wheeler variants to come. Body options will include tipper, skip-loader, concrete mixer and curtainsider.

Lee Rowland, sales & marketing manager at Dennis Eagle, said the company’s low-entry cab, with larger windows providing enhanced direct vision for drivers [compared to traditional high-cab designs], offers a narrow chassis option for greater manoeuvrability in built-up areas.

“The Elite 6 narrow is a firm favourite with our customers, as it can navigate heavy traffic with ease,” Rowland said.

The Clocs demonstrator model will be fitted with a Dawes Highway Drop-Down side-protection barrier for vulnerable road users, which the company discovered when it was launched at the Freight in the City Expo in London in October.

Rowland said: “In a marketplace that is flooded with technology designed to make vehicles safer, the Drop-Down product stood out as a true innovation.”

He added: “We have been working very closely with Clocs to improve safety for vulnerable road users, and have seen recent legislation to enforce the use of lateral protection to the side of vehicles.

“This is great, but there is still a gap between the vehicle and the road which leaves cyclists/pedestrians open to being dragged under the vehicle in the event of a collision. The Drop-Down product bridges that gap by maintaining constant contact with the road.”

The Clocs demonstrator, which will hit the roads next March, will also feature a four-way camera system developed by ISS.

Hauliers need a lead from government if they are to adopt emerging fuel technology

The RHA has urged the government to develop clear, long-term policies to support development of alternative fuels and emission-lowering technology for the road transport sector.

Officials must also engage with hauliers and help them understand what their options are when new technology legislation is introduced, such as the roll-out of Euro-6 engines.

Jack Semple, director of policy at the RHA, spoke to delegates at the Developing low-emission transport in the UK conference in London earlier this week about the challenges facing the road haulage sector in adopting emerging fuel technology.

Diesel is an efficient fuel the industry knows, he said, and since the roll-out of Euro-6 is also an extremely clean technology and far lower in carbon emissions than hauliers expected.

“Which is something our members found out to their surprise because the government was given to understand it would be worse than Euro-5 in terms of miles per gallon,” Semple added.

In terms of emerging fuels, the DfT has committed an additional £25m to spend on supporting gas usage in HGVs. However, Semple said there remained misconceptions about gas.

“There is very little industry demand; virtually no interest at the moment, but that may change. If we look back over the past 20 years, the reasons for gas have changed a lot, but the promotion of gas and the explanation and understanding of gas in the haulage industry has moved very little,” Semple said.

He added that is was important that the industry understood the government’s intentions for gas usage, because there had been a significant amount of investment compared with other technology to lower emissions, and no policy to date.

Electric vehicle technology had been hindered, Semple believed, for reasons of reliability and cost.

Although there were a number of large companies interested in using electric vehicles, they had been put off at the costs of installing a substation for refuelling purposes, for example.

“In contrast, we have an NHS vehicle operated by DHL, which is a hybrid (pictured). It is a series hybrid unlike the parallel hybrids developed by the truck manufacturers and has been largely developed in the UK by DHL with some suppliers,” Semple said.

He felt that perhaps hauliers viewed hybrid “as a neglected technology”, but that it had a lot to offer up to 14 tonnes in urban environments in the short to medium term, such as fuel economy savings and driver comfort from electric vehicles. “I think this may well be revisited,” Semple added.

The road haulage sector was increasingly IT-led, with a huge focus on carbon reduction through better scheduling of lorries, however these strides had very low visibility in the government.

There was also far more potential from telematics technology that had yet to be embraced by the sector, which would increase efficiency and drive down emissions further.

In addition, there would also be more demand from operators wanting to run longer semi-trailers  in addition to the 1,800 permits already allocated from a 10-year government trial of the 14.6m- and 15.65m-long units.

“We’re keen for more smaller firms to have the opportunity to operate these vehicles as well as the very large firms. If we’re going to reduce carbon and we can improve transport efficiency per journey, then that ticks a box,” said Semple.

Cemex boosts fleet with 15 “enhanced visibility” tippers

Cemex is adding 15 new tipper trucks with enhanced nearside visibility to its fleet following a successful trial of two modified vehicles.

The company has been working with Daf to develop the design of the new trucks, which should give drivers’ greater visibility of road users and pedestrians.

The order was prompted by a trial of two modified rigids by Cemex, which received positive driver feedback.

The two tippers were fitted with a glass panel to the bottom half of their nearside doors, known as the Vision door, which allowed the drivers to see the head and shoulders of anyone passing close to the vehicle.

The Vision door, measuring 50cm x 25cm, allows the driver to see vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, in their peripheral vision. It costs approximately £1,000 for a retrofit version.

Speaking to Freight in the City a Cemex spokeswoman said the trial had garnered approval from the company’s drivers, prompting the company to place the order with Daf.

“We think these vehicles will be of great benefit. The drivers all said the added visibility was a great benefit,” she said.

However technical problems with the two modified tippers mean the company has yet to decide whether it will retrofit the Vision windows to its existing fleet.

The spokeswoman said: “We have had problems with the windows in the trial trucks. The key issue is that the window restricts movement of the door on the passenger side. We are working on that.”

The majority of the 15 new tippers will be assigned to Cemex’s 25-strong London fleet.

The spokeswoman added: “London is where the greatest concentration of cyclists is and an area of concern to us but we are also looking at putting some of the trucks in other areas with similar concerns, where extra visibility is needed.”

Dearman starts on-vehicle testing of refined zero-emission refrigeration system for trucks

Dearman has begun on-vehicle testing of its latest zero-emission transport refrigeration system.

Powered by a liquid nitrogen engine, Dearman said the system produces no harmful NOx or particulates and significantly reduces CO2 emissions.

The manufacturer first began testing its liquid nitrogen technology at the beginning of this year, but since then has refined the refrigeration system, alongside technology partner Hubbard Products, to be 30% lighter, smaller and more efficient.

Dearman’s Generation 2 system will now be tested with support from HORIBA MIRA, before a commercial, on-road, field trial begins with a UK operator in 2016.

Michael Ayres, deputy CEO of Dearman, said: “We have always planned to evolve and continuously improve our core Dearman engine, but to achieve such rapid improvements in weight and efficiency is a significant achievement.

“We aspire to offer systems which are not only cleaner, but that are also cheaper and perform better than polluting diesel alternatives. We are another step closer to achieving that goal.”

In June this year, the company opened the Dearman Technology Centre in Croydon, Surrey, which it said will become a hub of liquid air engine design, engineering, test and development.



Cenex develops performance calculator for gas-powered HGVs

Cenex has developed a performance simulation tool for fleets looking to operate dual-fuel (gas/diesel) HGVs.

It will enable fleet operators to calculate the cost and carbon emission savings from dual-fuel trucks and compare with their diesel counterparts.

The new software will be incorporated into the existing Cenex Fleet Carbon Reduction Tool.

It follows a three-year R&D project, part-funded by Innovate UK, as part of the government’s Low Carbon Truck trials.

Steve Carroll, senior technical specialist at Cenex, said: “The real benefit is that we can assess gas vehicle performance before the onset of costly vehicle trials or purchases. The truck model allows us to show the cost and carbon benefits of operating gas trucks in a bespoke fleet environment.

“We record GPS data from fleet vehicles and run this through our model, which allows us to estimate the total cost and emission savings, not only for the fleet but also on a per route basis.”

Throughout the three-year R&D project, Cenex managed the performance evaluation of 40 natural gas trucks for a major UK distributor.

It led the testing and validation work that reported on truck performance during the trial including economics, fuel consumption, carbon emissions, noise performance, air quality performance and driver perceptions and attitudes towards gas vehicles and refuelling stations.

Chris Walsh, head of technical support at Cenex, said, ‘Working on the deployment and evaluation of the gas trucks has given Cenex valuable understanding of vehicle performance in real-world scenarios and allowed us to develop the tools necessary to support the economic roll-out of gas vehicles into heavy duty fleets.”