Speaking at the BCC International Trade Summit today, Heathrow’s Non-Executive Chairman Lord Deighton announced a new ten step Blueprint for Sustainable Freight plan to reduce the impact of freight vehicles around Heathrow. Lord Deighton’s speech is the first time the airport has publicly addressed the challenge of the environmental impacts of cargo and set out its plans to ensure that even as Heathrow and freight volumes grow with expansion, overall airport-related traffic on the road does not increase in number compared to today. Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce fully supports this initiative.
Paul Britton, CEO, Thames Valley Chamber commented:
“In an increasingly competitive global economy a strong trade base is a key component in guiding the region and the UK towards balanced growth. The Thames Valley has a significant number of companies in the region with global HQs in key international markets. So the announcement today is a welcome initiative which will further consolidate cargo freight opportunities now and when, as expected, the third runway is constructed. As a centre of excellence for international trade services in the region, we wholly support the Blueprint.”
Heathrow is the UK’s biggest port by value – responsible for handling over 30% of the country’s non-EU exports by value – more than the ports of Southampton and Felixstowe combined. Heathrow’s role as a trading hub will grow as expansion takes place, with cargo capacity set to double with the addition of a third runway. Currently, the majority of freight movements – 2.75 million freight vehicle movements each year- are made to support the airport’s cargo operations.
The ten practical steps set out by Lord Deighton in his speech today detail how freight operations can be more efficient, responsible and sustainable in the future. These proposed steps include:
– Using innovation through tools like a load consolidation “ Heathrow Cargo Cloud” app for local forwarders and the trial of low emission freight vehicles and geo-fencing technology to reduce emissions on local roads;
– Investments in airfield charging points to install an ultra-low emission zone for vehicles on-airport;
– Modernising cargo infrastructure at the airport to allow for more airside transhipments, consolidation points away from airport local roads and a new cargo village that reduces unnecessary vehicle movements;
– Working with local authorities to address congestion points with a Code of Conduct for operators, and a joint strategic freight plan for local roads.