Saturday, 3 April 2010

Logistic options for 21st Century - leading future infrastructure requirement?

The Transport Act 1947 nationalised the road haulage industry and resulted in British Road Services delivering most requirements through a number of operating units.
I'm told this meant that outlying villages and towns would get 
  • one delivery per day from one organisation that knew the area and people well
  • haulage was optimised so that trucks were rarely without a load of some sort!
How real that recollection is, there is no doubt that demand from the movement of goods must be running at a higher level today than it ever was 60 years ago. The nature (size, weight and packaging) of the goods to be transported more specialised and sophisticated that it was.
On the other hand, there is something to be said for a more open market (do branded supermarket share space in their HGVs) to optimise loads of each vehicles and avoid empty truck movements.

The value proposition below for the London Gateway port highlights the benefits of returning to a previous era (the heyday of London Docklands) where warehouse storage was adjacent to the port and distribution hubs started at ports rather than in the Midlands. 

The future (hopefully accelerated)  investment in a high speed rail network should release capacity to at least transfer some of the freight movement off road onto the legacy rail network.

Will logistics supply or end users demand the radical remodelling of processes and assumptions that underpin long term transport planning?
Can we return to a situation where we can trust a local supply of goods from a regulated logistics supplier in way that we accept the supply of other commoditised and universal services (such as utilities) where duplication is wasteful on capacity utilisation and energy consumption?