Road Haulage Association

Haulage Industry News

Department for Transport – Logistics Sounding Board

The DfT’s Logistics Sounding Board meeting featured a presentation on a Freight Modal Switch Centre designed to give information and advice to freight consignors on the issues that should be considered when looking at alternative modes. We also received a report on a trial known as the “Quiet Deliveries Demonstration Study”, which looked at the problems associated with overnight deliveries in urban areas. This work was targeted initially at delivery sites that are restricted by curfews, which impose restrictions on the time that deliveries can be made, and explored a number of approaches that can result in those restrictions being lifted or relaxed. This can bring benefits to delivery companies including reduced trip times, quicker turnaround of vehicles and reduced fuel consumption. Included in the trial was a drivers’ charter produced specifically for each operator that covers driving behaving when approaching and leaving the area, avoiding long periods of idling and switching off radios. This sort of approach, which includes advice about contacting and negotiation with neighbours, could well be of use to members who have time limits on their operating centres.

The meeting also received an update on the Government’s position on lorry charging. It is clear that the Government are keen to make some progress with the Coalition’s aim to tackle the issue of unfair competition from foreign hauliers, but that the scope for action is limited. Previous efforts to design an effective Lorry Road User Charging Scheme proved unsuccessful so the DfT is now looking at a time-based scheme that will impose charges on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. The RHA has always maintained that any scheme must be simple to operate and cost neutral as far as UK companies are concerned. We expect formal consultation on the Government’s proposals to start this summer.

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