Keep Santa's sleigh moving
It occurred to me that not many freight businesses, be they on land, sea or air, would have a great deal of use for leaping lords or piping pipers and that large numbers of swans a-swimming could actually be a hazard to water traffic. On that basis I decided to compile my own personal selection of twelve festive gifts for the transport and logistics sector:
1. From future historians, a description of how, in 2017, Britain inaugurated its first fully integrated national transport policy since the Romans.
2. From the CBI, an instruction to members to make sure delivery drivers are treated like human beings and given access to toilet, washing and cafe facilities on their premises.
3. From everyone involved in the sector, large or small, a firm and clear list of priorities for the Brexit talks to make sure the right decisions are made to enable this vital part of the economy to flourish.
4. From the National Infrastructure Commission, to give its backing to the GB Freight Route scheme, allowing lorries to carry goods all over the country on drive-on, drive-off trains, if The Grinch doesn't hike access charges of course.
5. For employers, unions, Department for Transport, Department for Education and the Department for Employment and Learning to work together to promote careers in the freight industry before the recruitment time bomb goes off in everyone’s face.
6. From all UK airports, to put forward their schemes for expansion and promote them through local planning processes so we get the right runways in the right places rather than waiting decades for development at Heathrow.
7. From the Department of Transport, to think again about All Lane Running and to consider Smart Motorways as a more effective option which doesn’t put motorists, and recovery drivers in particular, at serious avoidable risk.
8. From the Brexit ministers, a guarantee that the EU Port Services Regulation will never be enshrined in UK law. Not enacting it at all will save the time-consuming heartache of waiting for it to be incorporated into Mrs May’s Great Repeal Bill.
9. From the motor industry the resurrection of the wonderful and long-missed Bedford truck, the vehicle still unsurpassed in so many ways, into a 21st century model.
10. From the Department of Transport (and I know I’ve already asked for stuff from them but they do hold the key to most of the really good gifts), a genuine commitment to promoting Britain’s shockingly under-exploited inland waterways and coastal waters for the movement of goods.
11. From Transport for London, an admission that squeezing HGVs into smaller and smaller areas of road to make room for cycles is contributing to the capital’s gridlock and pollution and impacting any attempts to be pro-freight.
12. From Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, recognition that freight represents a massive 5% of GDP, that all industries and communities depend on it for their daily needs and that he really ought to bear its importance in mind when he takes crucial decisions.
None of these things will bother Santa one bit as the Master of Magical Logistics, but if he can stuff one or two of them into the appropriate stockings, I'm sure we’ll all have a happier New Year.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)