London is a vast, thriving city of nearly 10 million people living, working and enjoying their leisure time alongside one another. Those of us in the haulage industry, from hauliers to management, know that keeping a city the size of London ticking requires a constant flow of goods to be delivered daily and around the clock. |
To put the city’s logistics needs into perspective the Freight Transport Association (FTA) recently released figures which showed that more than 360,000 tonnes of goods are delivered in London each day - a figure which equates to around 250 tonnes a minute! Breaking that figure down still further, the FTA suggests that it would take 400 vans to deliver the amount of toilet roll used daily in London. The city would then require a further 23 articulated lorries to deliver enough baked beans to keep Londoners happy for just one day.
Of course, there’s more to London’s logistics than just delivering Londoners the basic essentials they need. There are also a vast range of shops and businesses in the capital which require goods and stock to be delivered promptly, as and when they are required. For this reason, logistics are not just a necessity but actually contribute to the economic strength of the city.
At present, 90 per cent of the goods brought into London are transported by road. This means that without the daily army of hauliers making deliveries across the city, from transportation hubs like those situated around Heathrow to the west and the London Gateway in East London, many of London’s businesses would quickly grind to a halt.
Looking to the Future
Because of the vital role logistics play in keeping a city like London moving the FTA wants to work with local government and the London Mayor’s office to improve the relationship between the city’s population and its hauliers.
The Association has suggested that changes to the delivery time restrictions could be the answer. Night-time deliveries, for example, would mean that hauliers enter London during less busy times. The FTA suggests this would not only improve congestion, thereby benefitting the environment, but that it will also ease concerns over road safety because hauliers will no longer be forced to share the roads with commuters and cyclists.
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, former London’s Transport Commissioner, is reported as saying, ‘From the shops on our high streets to the offices in the City, we all rely on freight and logistics to keep London thriving. The unprecedented growth and changing nature of London is placing increasing pressure on our road network. Never has the need to adapt been more pressing’.
There will always be those who will point to the lorries, vans and trucks that travel the capital’s roads and complain about their harmful influence on the environment or their impact on road safety. But it might be worth us reminding them once in a while that without these vital delivery systems their breakfasts would lack baked beans and… well, it’s probably better not to think about what London would do without its daily delivery of toilet paper!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry across the UK and Europe. It provides services for matching work for a haulier with jobs and to buy and sell road transport and haulage work in the domestic and international markets. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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