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Working for our members – championing multimodal logistics

Logistics UK represents all modes of logistics, with members from road, rail, water and air.

We are working for our members to raise the profile of multimodal freight and highlight important challenges and opportunities, whether that’s through our modal councils, presenting at conferences or engaging directly with decision makers in government.

A lot of our multimodal work stems from our councils: Air, Rail, Water and Shippers’, which are always a good opportunity to check in with members and test the latest policy proposals or consultations that are relevant, as well as giving members a regular point in the calendar to share their views, learnings and thoughts.

Recently, there have been a number of government consultations relevant to multimodal freight, so we have frequently been in contact to discuss our positions and asks on these subjects. In just the past few months alone, we have submitted responses to consultations and calls for evidence on the modal shift grants, airport slots, night flights, the transport sector and grid capacity, and hydrogen and non-road mobile machinery.

In addition to our modal councils, we organise and attend a number of events around rail, air and water. Earlier this year, we held our third annual air cargo seminar, jointly hosted with Airlines UK, which brought together policy makers, decision makers, operators, academics, and everyone in between to discuss the vital role of air freight and what the sector wants to ask of a new government in an election year. We were delighted to have Aviation Minister, Anthony Brown deliver a keynote speech. We’re working hard in the sustainability area of aviation too, particularly promoting the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and we are calling on government for tax incentives for purchasing and using SAF to make it more competitive.

We recently held our Rail Council meeting at a member premises at DP World in Southampton, which included a tour of the site. We put a special emphasis on visiting members in person and seeing them operating as often as possible. Members really appreciate the opportunity to see other sites and learn from other organisations.

Our next event for rail is in July, when we are co-hosting a workshop with the Great British Railways Transition Team. Lord Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail, will be speaking to delegates at the workshop, which is about demystifying rail freight for non-users. The aim of the workshop is to educate and signpost businesses which don’t use rail, but would like to, so they can begin their journey to using rail freight and support them by breaking down the perceived barriers. 

We were delighted by the announcement late last year from the Department for Transport to grow rail freight by at least 75% by 2050, but we know a target itself is not enough to increase freight by rail. Measures including infrastructure, upgrades and retention of modal shift grants are vital to ensure the target is attainable. There is always so much more to be done and we will continue to push this agenda with government.

Our next Water Council takes place in June. This meeting is a joint meeting with Shippers’ Council, and again we are visiting a member site, kindly hosted by DFDS in Immingham. Following member requests, we have speakers coming to talk about the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).  With all of the disruptions to supply chains and trade over the past year, we have been in close communication with members through our Shippers’ Council and government and key stakeholders, liaising over the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) coming into operation, the new Entry and Exit System (EES) as well as impacts from the Red Sea attacks. Recently we gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the Windsor Framework and how trade is affected between the west coast of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Logistics UK has long been calling for clarity surrounding the implementation of new border checks and trade processes.

Related to our work around water, we recently joined other industry experts from across the sector and spoke at Coastlink, an event hosted by the Port of Amsterdam in April. The network is dedicated to the promotion of short-sea feeder shipping and intermodal networks through ports that support a competitive supply chain and a key takeaway from discussions was the desire for collaboration across the sector to decarbonise and increase short-sea shipping.

It’s great to meet members in person and facilitate communication between government and industry. A big part of our political engagement work focuses on bringing decision makers to members’ sites. If members are interested in hosting a visit, please do let us know.

We work closely with the Department for Transport and regularly attend All-Party Parliamentary Groups on waterways, rail and aviation to speak up and spread the word about multimodal logistics.

As well as UK government relations, we are working hard to represent members across our devolved nations. In February, we held a roundtable on logistics decarbonisation and modal shift in Scotland, which was chaired by Edward Mountain MSP, Convener of the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee. Participants recognised that logistics decarbonisation will take a variety of approaches, with the system being comprised of multiple transport modes and infrastructure types.

Following the Scottish government’s plans to suspend its contribution to Mode Shift Revenue Support, we are working on looking at options for modal shift and are meeting with the Transport Secretary later this month to discuss next steps. The mode shift grant is so important for Scotland and reaching its decarbonisation targets as well as overcoming congestion issues, so we hope to help find a solution that works for everyone.

In Northern Ireland we continue to meet with Ministers from across the recently restored Executive to highlight the economic contribution of the logistics industry to the Northern Ireland economy and the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. As well as meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew Muir MLA, to discuss trading issues under the Windsor Framework, we also recently met with the Finance Minister, Dr Caoimhe Archibald MLA, to highlight the economic risks to the industry and local economy if business rates relief measures are removed. On 16 May we were delighted to welcome the Infrastructure Minister, John O’Dowd MLA, to our Freight Council to meet with members and discuss our priorities for infrastructure, decarbonisation, skills, trade and the need to resolve parity issues between Northern Ireland and Great Britain on several regulatory matters.

In Wales our work continues to help shape the government’s new Freight and Logistics Plan and ensure it reflects and addresses the top priorities of our Welsh members.

Finally, something we’re looking forward to is attending Multimodal in June, where we have a stand and theatre across the three days and are excited to catch up with stakeholders across industry. Logistics UK will be launching the Logistics Report 2024 there, which analyses the biggest trends impacting the sector over the past year, covering all modes.

It would be great to meet with members, so please do reach out if you are there and as above, we are always interested in organising visits with policymakers so please let me know if this would be of interest.

Published On: 16/05/2024 15:00:00


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