Truck and Track Spring 2024 Spring 2024 Truck and Track 71 LOGISTICS UK NEWS The next Mayor of London must appoint a dedicated Freight Commissioner if the capital’s businesses are to maximise their productivity and drive growth for the capital, according to business group Logistics UK. “Logistics is one of London’s key economic sectors,” explains Chris Yarsley, Logistics UK’s senior policy advisor, “and has the potential to accelerate real benefits for the capital’s economy if its role is considered and supported by policy makers. The capital’s 35,000 logistics businesses deliver everything London needs, every day, and the industry provides jobs for more than a quarter of a million Londoners – almost 5% of the city’s employees. Yet the needs of the sector are often relegated to an afterthought once decisions on construction, manufacturing, infrastructure and even waste management have been made. “If London is to maintain its role as one of the world’s most dynamic, progressive cities, it is critical that logistics is considered as part of the wider plans for the capital’s future, and not viewed in isolation or simply as a mode of transport. This is why our members – businesses from right across the supply chain – are keen to see the next Mayor create a role that secures logistics its rightful place within the London Plan, supports the industry to develop a pipeline of talent, and ensures the swift and efficient implementation of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy freight recommendations.” The call for a dedicated Freight Commissioner for the capital is part of Logistics UK’s London Manifesto, which was launched ahead of the upcoming Mayoral and London Assembly elections. As Yarsley continues, the ambition is that all candidates will adopt the proposals contained within the document to ensure that the impact of the logistics industry can be maximised for the benefit of all Londoners. “Logistics has a critical role to play in addressing the strategic opportunities and challenges facing London, to make it cleaner, safer and more prosperous and, ultimately, a better place to live and work. When it is considered as part of wider economic development, logistics can and does drive real growth – our research has shown that, given the role it deserves, our sector would deliver up to £7.9 billion in UK productivity-led growth per year. “But to be able to achieve that level of growth, logistics businesses, their needs and concerns need to be part of the bigger agenda for London’s Mayor and the city’s administration – not considered as an unnecessary afterthought.” Alongside the call for a London Freight Commissioner, Logistics UK’s manifesto includes calls to develop innovative and integrated infrastructure plans that will ensure goods are moved in the most productive, strategic and green manner. Logistics UK’s member businesses are keen to see investment in river crossings, as well as innovative solutions for major routes, kerbside access and home deliveries. At the same time, as Yarsley concludes, it is vital that London’s road safety standards are maintained – something which the logistics sector is fully committed to achieving: “Logistics businesses in the capital need to operate as safely and efficiently as possible, with the most vulnerable road users protected and innovation and education used to maximise the use of new ideas for operation. At the same time, the industry is committed to a greener future for the capital, and a Freight Commissioner would help the sector achieve its goals by linking disparate areas of policymaking and identifying opportunities for all. Our industry stands ready to deliver for London – our businesses deserve support at the highest level of local government to help us achieve this.” London’s businesses need a Freight Commissioner says Logistics UK Data from information provider Statista indicates the UK’s electric heavy goods vehicle market is predicted to see a 70% growth by 2026, with more than 2,100 battery-powered vehicles expected to be operational on the nation’s roads by then. But while this introduction of new technologies is a welcome step on the UK’s road to net zero, the deployment of these new generation HGVs could prove challenging for logistics businesses unless their staff are equipped to handle ongoing maintenance and repairs as they arise. “The average HGV operating on the UK’s roads requires ongoing official inspections every six weeks to ensure that it remains in peak condition to deliver for customers,” explains David Jordan, Deputy Operations Director at Logistics UK, “and this means that operators must ensure all faults are identified and repaired in a timely manner. The new generation of electric trucks relies on different technologies from those found in traditional combustion engines and, without appropriate information and training, this could prove problematic for conventionally trained mechanics, who could find themselves without the necessary skills to service and repair the new vehicles. “Any unscheduled off-road time for HGVs can prove costly for logistics businesses and their customers, and put the connectedness of the supply chain in jeopardy, something that our members are looking to avoid at all costs. It is vital that logistics businesses ensure their teams have the necessary skills in new technologies to keep vehicles roadworthy and delivering for customers.” To assist logistics businesses in upskilling their maintenance teams, Logistics UK has formed a partnership with SMB College (Stephenson, Brooksby and Melton) and Bristol College to launch a new programme of learning and development for logistics engineers. The L2 and L3 electric vehicle maintenance training programmes are designed to upskill existing vehicle technicians and ensure they are equipped with the necessary skills to keep vehicles roadworthy and identify faults as soon as they occur. “Vehicle safety and roadworthiness are critical to the success and efficiency of the logistics sector,” says Jordan, “and these new training courses will ensure that businesses are properly equipped to identify and solve problems with electric vehicle technology as soon as they arise. The colleges we are partnering with have a long history of excellence in vehicle engineering and maintenance and have put together comprehensive, state of the art curricula that will ensure that trainees are equipped to deal with the new technologies that are already appearing on Britain’s roads.” The new courses, which last for two days, include modules on working safely on an electric/hybrid vehicle, using information to carry out the task, knowledge on carrying out repairs on high energy electrical systems and recording information and making suitable recommendations, all delivered in a highly practical way with lots of hands-on training throughout. This will lead to an IMI Level 2/3 qualification in Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Routine Maintenance, and the inclusion on the IMI TechSafe© register. Future proof your mechanics with Logistics UK’S new electric vehicle training courses