Weekly Round up of the Latest logistics news

Logistics trade shows – Commercial Vehicle Show started yesterday

The world of logistics both in the United Kingdom and abroad never stands still and profit margins are constantly being pressed due to government legislation or market forces.  Commercial vehicle operations are always looking in new directions to ensure that they remain viable.  Major trade shows help enormously and the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC Birmingham started yesterday on 29 AprilThis really is the gold standard for commercial vehicle shows where you will find representation from all elements of commercial vehicle operations. 

Delegates get together at this show to discuss the current state of the industry.  They have ample opportunity to canvass ideas and opinions geared towards improvements or changes that need to be made to ensure that all commercial fleets achieve maximum safety and efficienclogistics infographic about fuel dutyy standards.  It is reported that at least 75% of those attending such events are likely to come from senior people within the commercial vehicle world, examples being fleet owners, directors, senior managers or engineers. 

A notable stand at this year’s show will be occupied by MiX Telematics who are acknowledged within the industry as fleet management experts.   Their expertise has enabled many fleet managers to improve their efficiency and safety records while, at the same time, they have significantly reduced their fuel and maintenance costs.  MiX demonstrate their management packages by the use of interactive tablets or smart phones, thus engaging their customers with proven hi-tech methods.

Will the fuel duty freeze cause higher distribution rates in the logistics industry?

The logistics industry’s hopes for a major boost to their profitability were dashed when the Government announced recently that there will be no cut in fuel duty.    The latest budget announcement by the Chancellor, George Osborne, to freeze rather than cut duty was a major disappointment for fleet managers. There was, however, some relief with the caveat that a planned increase from September 2014 in fuel duty will not now take place.  Remarkably this is the fourth consecutive year that fuel duty rates have been frozen but it is still an alarming fact that British drivers pay the highest rates of fuel duty in the whole of Europe.

A failure to cut the fuel duty leaves transport managers with continuing pressures on their fuel budgets and continuing high fuel prices inevitably lead to higher transportation costs.  In order to remain competitive against other European hauliers it is vital that British commercial vehicle operations are given a fair chance in these difficult times.  Even though recent Treasury analysis proves that a cut in fuel duty would boost the economic output of the whole country there is still no imminent sign of a cut in duty.

Commercial vehicles being blamed for the biggest cause of air pollution

A worrying recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that air pollution is one of the biggest threats to the human race.  Despite improvements designed to reduce the threat of pollution from commercial vehicles it seems that exhaust fumes from large vehicles is still a major problem.  A recent WHO report claims that seven million lives were lost in the year 2012 due to serious air pollution and a large proportion of those deaths were recorded in Asian countries where controls over exhaust emissions are not as stringent as in the United Kingdom.  Over development of the industrial economies in such places as China and India is certainly having a serious impact on the health of people living there.  The WHO cites a statistic that at least one in eight of every deaths recorded is due to polluted air.  This is clearly a worldwide problem that must be addressed urgently.

We are fortunate in the UK that air pollution is not such a huge threat but there is no room for complacency.  In concentrated urban areas it is still possible to get high levels of pollutants in the air where a lot of commercial traffic is present, particularly those where older trucks or buses are operating.  Newer vehicles have efficient catalytic converters on board thus resulting in a cleaner emission and, of course, cities like London are imposing “clean air” policies.  Their hope is that the dirtier vehicles on Britain’s roads will be discouraged from entering the capital and this can only be a good thing of course.

While not all air pollution in Far Eastern regions is directly attributable to commercial vehicle movements – the burning of coal or animal products in furnaces have a significant effect – it is still acknowledged that exhaust emissions make a big enough contribution. A chilling statistic reveals that poor air quality in a country like China actually reduces life expectancy by up to five years.

Co-op supply chain improvements show positive results

Closer to home there is news that The Co-operative Food business has improved its supply chain processes.  Reduced stock levels have brought about a necessary improvement to the Group’s cash flow, thus enabling the Co-op stores to run more smoothly. Problems with the banking arm of the Co-op have been very much to the fore recently so it is good news that the retail side of the business appears to be healthy.

Relationships with suppliers have been addressed positively and a new logistics services network has brought great results for the customers in the shops.  Better availability is now the watchword and this, naturally, brings more customers through the shop doors.  Following the likes of Tesco with its “Metro” brand and Sainsbury’s “Local” the Co-op is branching out into smaller premises at the expense of some larger ones. 

With the intention to become a bigger player in the retail sector the group opened 32 new stores last year with a similar number expected in 2014.  It is significant that a number of these outlets are in and around London.  The Co-op brand was traditionally associated with its northern roots but times are changing for the better. Having taken over the Somerfield shops the future is expected to be bright for this established High Street name.


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