UK User Group Looks For Better Truck Queue Solution

Just before last Christmas there was much publicity about huge import and export backlogs at Frankfurt and other continental airports due to bottlenecks within the truck delivery areas at these airports. Some airports are still fighting to try and clear backlogs there as well as streamline warehouse door-handling procedures. It seems that UK airports, especially London Heathrow, are experiencing the same misery.

CCS-UK User Group Chairman, Steve Parker  -  courtesy Bifa
CCS-UK User Group Chairman, Steve Parker - courtesy Bifa

CCS-UK join forces to resolve the problem
It was back in early December that the CCS-UK Cargo Community User Group realised that it was necessary for a joint-effort on the part of all participants in order to try and alleviate this problem and find a suitable solution going forward.
The CCS-UK group stated at that time that due to heavy congestion at the Heathrow Cargo Terminals, the access to which had to be closed for a few days, “that there is a need for a universal advance information system that will alert handling agents to arriving vehicles in order to speed up their processing.”
There is no overnight solution for unworkable congestion being experienced at many airports as cargo volumes continue to grow and e-commerce traffic is adding considerable volumes on top of what is normally handled as ‘hard cargo.’ The CCS-UK User Group plans to hold a series of road shows during early 2018 in order to attract attention to the problem, but more importantly, get valuable feedback from the industry. The CCS-UK User Group is formed from representatives out of the UK Air Cargo Community which include airlines, ground handlers and freight forwarders.

How about a joint European information flow?
In the previous issue of CargoForwarder Global we highlighted the issue of the negative service aspects being faced by cargo ground handlers due to lack of staff and what they see as airlines not willing to shoulder more of the extra cost for qualified staff and systems.
The truck waiting times issue is part of the above problem and one which will not be easy to solve. Road Feeder (RFS) reliability has almost broken down within Central Europe and is probably no better in the UK which has for years had to face an additional influx of trucks, many of which originate in Eastern Europe.
Would it then not be of advantage for all if the German, Dutch, French and UK cargo terminals management were to get their ‘experts’ together to gather and assimilate information which could hopefully lead to a positive exchange of ideas on alleviating the truck congestion?
At the end of the day, one cargo warehouse is basically the same as the other. Having the same congestion problems within and outside in the truck staging areas.

Brexit may well increase the problem
In a recent news release on this problem, the CCS-UK User Group Chairman, Steve Parker, pointed out to his members that the truck delivery problem is a nationwide issue and does not just affect London Heathrow Airport. He stressed the point that his problem may well increase dramatically once the UK leaves the European Union.
There are still far too few airports which have any form of effective ‘Call Forward System’ for air freight truckers. In order for this to become reality across Europe, there is surely the need, where possible, for a common solution. The benefit at the end of the day is for all and the result would be that shippers and consignees alike gain back confidence in the air cargo ground handling arena.

John Mc Donagh

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