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Monthly Archives: August 2016

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Freight industry more efficient than ever, say DfT officials

A new report by the Department for Transportation puts a very positive light on the freight and courier services industry, suggesting that overall efficiency has improved. The UK’s road freight industry was found to have grown in the past year, yet haulage companies were able to take more trucks off the road. This is a positive step towards better environmental practices and great news for freight companies who want to improve overall cost-efficiency.

In 2015, there was a huge 12% rise in the amount of goods being transported on British roads. Road freight accounts for three-quarters of all movement of UK goods, so this is a big rise in deliveries overall. Experts attribute the demand for logistics to a connected marketplace, with more national and global trading of goods and materials. The boom in online shopping and subsequent delivery demand from consumers has also put pressure on the delivery markets: products are now shipped far and wide as people expand their buying habits through the internet.

With all this extra productivity, you would expect a rise in haulage vehicles on the roads. However, the DfT report revealed a far more surprising statistic along with that 12% market boost: HGV use only rose by 9% in the same year. That 3% margin is a crucial one – it suggests that logistics efficiency has increased overall. With growing concerns over the environmental impact of haulage and freight services – plus a promise from the industry to work on its carbon emissions – the news from the DfT’s report is certainly very welcome. Experts say that, while road freight might reduce slightly to push down its environmental impact, it will always remain the strongest arm of the logistics market and an important part of UK industry.

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Freight industry can take leading role in reducing carbon emissions

While Britain is still a part of the European Union, we continue to closely monitor its commitment to helping the freight industry to reduce emissions. Last week, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) voiced its approval of the European Union’s low emission mobility strategy.

The EU recently communicated that it will be setting out “clear and fair guiding principles to member states” in order to prepare for a greener future. Pauline Bastidon, Head of European Policy at the FTA, welcomed the introduction of a framework for the industry and said that an “adequate rollout of infrastructure for alternative fuels is key for us and can go a long way in helping the logistics sector reduce its carbon footprint.”

Currently, the freight transport needed to distribute various goods around the globe contributes to seven percent of global carbon emissions. This is a significant amount, but also means that, as an industry, we have a real opportunity to lead the world’s goals to reduce the impact of fossil fuels on our environment.

Although it’s not easy, there are many ways we can and do look to reduce carbon emissions, such as by improving vehicle design, calculating better route efficiency, using different modes of transport across various terrains on a single route, and introducing low-carbon fuels.

Furthermore, many of these measures provide an excellent return on investment for the industry, meaning that we can continue to provide freight and courier services to our customers in the future, whilst also ensuring that we contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.

As a company that takes emissions very seriously, we will be paying close attention to how the European Union’s new guidelines progress. Although the United Kingdom is soon to leave the EU, we will still be able to lead by example and take a leading role in saving our environment from the impact of fossil fuels.

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Don’t panic, Britain has not suddenly floated off into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!

While the result of the Brexit referendum may have taken many by surprise, not just in the UK, but across Europe, there is one very important thing to understand and which seems to have passed a number of people by. Simply because Britain has voted to leave Europe hasn’t changed the geographical location of this “sceptred Isle”. In other words, where freight to Italy, freight Portugal, freight to Spain and freight to Germany is concerned, there will still be a need for express freight services. Very few businesses are going to cut off their nose to spite their face and refused to do business on a point of principle and, if it really were likely to be a case that Britain would become completely ostracised from the rest of Europe, it is highly unlikely that we would have even had a referendum in the first place.

Lloyds Loading List has an interesting article on how the freight industry is digesting the implications of Britain’s a vote to leave Europe, with particular emphasis being paid to new costs, a number of new restrictions and a whole raft of bureaucratic requirements which could be imposed upon moving goods in and out of Europe where Britain was concerned. One area of particular concern and where a great deal of lobbying will be focused is on national customs, and by this we do not mean clog dancing in Holland, we mean cross-border customs. As a company which specialises in express freight shipping, we will be keeping a very close eye on proceedings.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has expressed considerable concern, with its chief executive, David Wells, stating that: “Even though we are coming out of Europe politically, it remains our biggest export market and the supplier of a high proportion of our imports. We cannot allow new bureaucratic burdens to hamper the efficient movement of exports heading for customers and imported goods destined for British consumers.

“The government has two years to ensure the conditions currently imposed on other non-EU member states such as Albania and Serbia are not imposed on UK freight flows. Norway and Switzerland have better arrangements but have accepted tough conditions including the free movement of people, so this will be a difficult negotiation.

“Britain may be out of Europe but it’s not out of business and FTA will be leading the campaign on behalf of exporters and importers to keep trade procedures simple and the costs of international transport down.”

Whether or not the UK would have tariff-free trade with the EU would have to be discussed over the next two plus years, while additional issues would include EU road traffic to and from the Irish Republic via Britain.

Here at Plexus Freight we can’t promise to have all the answers but, as nothing is likely to change for at least two years, should you require any reassurance on the current situation, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

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