Logistics UK calls for London Freight Commissioner

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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 is being launched today 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.”