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Issue 5 2015 - Freight Business Journal Heathrow battle begins

affect the air cargo industry. Night freighters

for the express freight industry have now been almost entirely banished to other airports such as Stansted and East Midlands and the slight adjustment to passenger schedules that the ban entails should not significantly affect Heathrow’s bellyhold traffic, he said. The Freight Transport

Association (FTA)’s director of global and European policy, Chris Welsh praised the Commission for not going for the soſt option and producing an extremely comprehensive analysis of the UK’s air transport system. He was relieved that earlier

indications that the Commission might recommend extra capacity at other airports instead of Heathrow’s third runway had been unfounded, not least because of strong lobbying from FTA and the rest of the freight industry. FTA published its own report on airport capacity, ‘Sky High Value’ followed up by a further report by York Aviation, which warned of the danger of losing competitive edge to continental competitors which could lead to more flights services transferring to European airports. The planned siting of the third

runway to the north of the existing pair does not impinge directly on existing cargo activity at Heathrow, which is mainly to the south and

west of the existing airport. But irrespective of whether or not a new runway is eventually built, the freight industry is keen to see the complete rebuilding of Heathrow’s cargo terminal, some of which dates back to the 1960s and is not suitable for handling 40-foot trailers. It gets heavily congested, especially at peak times. Heathrow airport has also

recently appointed its first head of cargo in 20 years, Nick Platts. The CBI also published research

that claimed, in the time it takes to build a new runway, the UK could lose up to £31 billion in trade by 2030 because of the failure to increase flights to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries alone.

Heathrow third runway best for cargo – as well as passengers

Whilst all three schemes provide increased freight capacity, the Heathrow options are better placed to accommodate high frequencies of less ‘thick’ long- haul connections and are thus more

attractive for freight

handling, said the Commission. Another attractive feature of Heathrow for the cargo sector is its central position on the strategic road network. A significant cluster of freight

and logistics businesses have developed around Heathrow and in the Thames Valley region and expansion at Heathrow would build on this success. The Commission also said its preferred option, for a


new Northwest runway, was the best plan for increasing freight handling capacity within


airport boundary and would allow for “a significant increase in the airport’s freight operations.” It added that an alternative

plan to extend the northern runway did not specify additional

capacity within

freight-handling the


boundary, so any such development, if needed, would have to be located elsewhere, reducing the efficiency of freight operations. As there currently is only

a limited freight operation at Gatwick, any significant growth in the cargo sector there “would require a significant investment by third parties to develop freight-handling facilities and: “The scheme’s master plan does not explicitly provide for additional


capacity, but there is sufficient space to provide such capacity if required.” The Commission said it had

received a number of responses in consultation from freight operators emphasising their requirement and appetite


expand at Heathrow, but it was not certain that the industry would be willing to invest in additional capacity at Gatwick. The airport’s position to the south of London and limited connection to the strategic road network may dampen demand, as would the slower growth predicted in long-haul services. There is also much less of a foundation on which to build with relatively

few logistics

providers based in the vicinity of the airport.

Dream comes true for IAG in October

IAG Cargo will begin cargo services with its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on 25 October, on its five times weekly service between London Heathrow and Delhi. At seven pallets and 16 tonnes of liſt, the new plane will offer around 17% more capacity per flight than the Boeing 747 it replaces. Air conditioning systems on the aircraſt will maintain a regular hold temperate to within one degree’s accuracy, for temperature- sensitive


through IAG Cargo’s Constant


product. IAG Cargo chief

executive, Steve Gunning (right), commented: “IAG Cargo is in the midst of one of the biggest fleet upgrade programmes in our group’s history. The B787-9 is at the heart of this transformation, delivering more cargo capacity than its predecessors more

///NEWS Land, not sea is the limit to container growth, says Maersk boss

The limits to container traffic growth will be more to do with land transport capacity than port or terminal capacity, predicts Maresk Line’s operations director for the UK and Ireland, Mark Cornwell. Speaking at the christening of the 18,000teu Marchen Maersk in Felixstowe on 13 July, he said that while introduction of 19 ‘Triple E’ ultra-large container ships into the main East-West Asia/Europe trades had gone remarkably smoothly, he could foresee limits to the ability of rail and road transport systems to service increased numbers of such large ships. “The limits seem to be more on the rail service than on the terminals here in Felixstowe,” he told FBJ in an interview on board the new vessel. The Felixstowe branch line

has sections of single track that would ultimately limit the number of train services that could be operated, although Mark Cornwell

container ships could open up new possibilities for services operated by large ships. Mark

Cornwell also

admitted that the truck driver shortage was “a huge concern”, although Maersk was doing its best to mitigate it. As well as making maximum use of rail,

said he was very satisfied with the port and its ability to send multiple daily container services to inland terminals throughout the UK. “More than half our boxes go out by rail from Felixstowe,” he pointed out. “It gives us a lot of flexibility compared with, say, a once weekly feeder service to Liverpool or Teesport, as it means we can keep the cargo flow going to inland points.” That said, he would not rule

out Maersk making more use of Liverpool when enlarged container terminal facilities become available from the end of this year. The recently announced tranche of 14,000teu flexible

these included double-shiſted trucks and encouraging more customers

to load containers

in the aſternoon, rather than concentrating everything in the morning, as tends to be the case at present. “There is still latent capacity in the haulage market,” he stated. The Marchen Maersk

was christened by the ships ‘Godmother’ Melanie Coollins, wife of a major Maersk Line customer in the UK. The ship is the penultimate in an initial order of 20 Triple Es, although the line has nine similar ships on order and due for delivery in 2017-18, and options for a further eight.

efficiently and making

it well-suited to our belly-hold operations.”

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