If you’re operating within the haulage work sector, then you may have heard of the recent FTA publication of its “2016 Freight Manifesto” which was delivered to the local London government. |
This could be of great importance.
Trucks Aren’t Popular
The document referred to has its origins in the recognition of a painful reality for the haulage work industry: trucks aren’t popular anywhere, and particularly not in big cities like London.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In the news, one can hear more and more concerns regarding pollution, safety and road congestion in the capital virtually every day. Few people in the haulage business would argue against the belief that trucks are a significant component of that. Yet this is only part of the story – which is really the main purpose of the Manifesto.
As this document points out, cities need transport to survive. It’s not an accident that, in the past, cities were almost always built initially on rivers or by the coast. This was not to take advantage of the magnificent views and leisure opportunities, but rather for more commercial reasons - such as getting large quantities of goods and materials in and out.
Today, nothing has changed except the means of transport. Vast cities like London must move goods and materials around in enormous quantities. This is essential if the city and its inhabitants are to simply survive, let alone prosper.
The Raw Facts
Take just one example cited by the FTA Manifesto: house construction.
London claims to need 59,000 new homes built every year to cope with its growing population. Yet, building one house typically requires an average of 34 commercial vehicles collecting or delivering to the site. This suggests a minimum of 2 million plus heavy commercial vehicle journeys each year to cope with house building in the capital alone.
If that’s not staggering enough, the report confirms that London requires over a third of a million tonnes of goods (e.g. food) to be collected and delivered each day – or roughly 250 tonnes / 5 articulated lorries’ worth every minute!
At the moment, there is simply no viable alternative to achieving movement of this size other than by use of a vast number of larger trucks.
Why Produce the Manifesto?
These sorts of facts, figures and principles may well be familiar to those in haulage work, however trucks remain unpopular with the general public.
The industry, as a whole, lives in fear of a reactive political knee-jerk decision to ban larger commercial vehicles from the centre of London without any viable alternative being put in place.
While the FTA welcomes and supports initiatives in the industry to improve things such as vehicle safety and emissions, it cannot see any immediate or even medium-term alternative other than to allow larger commercial vehicles to do their job and keep London running.
Those in the haulage work industry will watch the outcome of both the debate and the manifesto’s reception with interest.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. 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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