Transport and Logistics essential to Olympics success

29/05/2012

The Freight Transport Association has emphasised the important role transport and logistics will play in the success of the Olympics and the need for the public and customers to be aware of the demands the Games are placing on transport companies.

In addition, the association has also stressed the importance in finding alternative ways of working and to see the challenges of the Olympic Games as an opportunity for innovation rather than a disturbance.

The Freight Transport Association’s Head of Policy for London, Natalie Chapman, gave evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee’s inquiry into transport for the Olympics Inquiry, alongside representatives of London Councils, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association.

The inquiry is looking at the transport challenges posed by the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the impact of Games Lanes and the Olympic Route Network on road transport in London.

In addition to Natalie Chapman; Justine Greening Secretary of State for Transport & Peter Hendy, Commissioner of Transport for London are also providing evidence.

Natalie Chapman said,

“We are pleased to assist the Transport Committee in its investigation into the robustness of transport arrangements for the Games. Without efficient logistics, there will be no Games. And without an appreciation of the likely disruption, Londoners and London’s business community will find it difficult to keep functioning. It is therefore important that everyone interested in making this summer a success is working together to ensure an efficient supply chain is maintained. There is a tendency not to notice freight until it doesn’t work, so the challenges of the next few months give the industry the ideal opportunity to showcase how effective and efficient it really is.”

Natalie Chapman informed the inquiry that the industry was largely prepared and read for the challenges that the Games will present. However, Freight Transport Association members are concerned how those reliant on logistics are preparing and adapting for the challenges predicted over the course of the next few months.

Concerns were also raised by Natalie Chapman regarding the additional costs that the industry will face in servicing customers during the Games. A number of companies have had to hire in additional vehicles and drivers for the summer, despite predictions not showing an increase in trade for this period as productivity will slump due to a reduction in road speeds and an increase in congestion.

Natalie Chapman added,

“The vast array of additional restrictions that will be implemented for the Olympics and Paralympics such as the Olympic Route Network, Games Lanes, banned turns and loading bans are likely to cause confusion even to drivers how know London’s streets like the back of their hand. We hope that the boroughs and Transport for London will take a sensible approach to enforcement and will focus their efforts on compliance and assisting drivers. We are of course delighted that the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State for Transport listened to FTA’s concerns on this issue and did not approve the increase in PCN levels to £200 as requested by London Councils and the Olympic Delivery Authority. However, if £130 fines are issued like confetti, we will as an industry, have a very big bill to pick up at the end of the summer.”

She also talked about the legacy that the Olympic Games will give the industry including new opportunities for night-time deliveries, the economic and environmental benefits of alternative deliveries.

In conclusion, Natalie Chapman said,

“In terms of profile and awareness, the freight and logistics industry has never had it so good. After being handed the baton of the Olympic Road Freight Management Programme from ODA, Peter Hendy, the Commissioner for Transport for London very quickly realised that some serious investment and resource was needed to provide the industry with the information it needed to plan for the Games. Over the last 18 months the Road Freight Management Programme has gone from strength to strength and thankfully we are a long way forward from where we were this time last year. The industry now has a dialogue with the very top level of Transport for London and FTA plans to maintain and build on this well founded relationship post Olympics.”

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