Issue 5 2018 - Freight Business Journal


MPs vote for Heathrow third runway

MPs voted 415 to 119 in favour of a third runway at London Heathrow airport on the evening of 25 June. However, many commentators saw it, at best, as ‘the end of the beginning’ rather than the beginning of the end of the controversy that has lasted over 20 years. Conservative MPs were forced

to support the government plan although Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who as MP for Uxbridge had vowed to lie down in front of the bulldozers, happened to be away in Afghanistan during the vote. The Labour Party was

officially opposed to the scheme but gave its MPs a free vote. Now, however, the plan could

face a legal challenge by local councils, the London mayor and environmental groups. In


an application for development consent for the project and, over the next 12 months alone, the airport will

sign £150

million worth of contracts with British businesses, creating 900 new jobs and 200 new apprenticeships. Heathrow will also announce the locations of the off-site logistics hubs for what will be one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects. The International Air

Transport Association said the vote opened the way for the long-overdue expansion of the airport, adding that

it was statement, Heathrow

Airport said that the vote would end “decades of political debate on one of the UK’s most pressing infrastructure issues.” It cleared the way for Heathrow to submit

“a momentous day not just in the UK, but for the global air transport network. This decision will create new jobs and new economic opportunities in the UK and strengthen ties to growing export markets. But these benefits will only be safeguarded if the expansion is delivered at a competitive cost.” But BIFA director-general

Robert Keen warned the freight industry not to get carried

Emirates adds Edinburgh and Stansted

away. He said: “Whilst BIFA welcomes the positive news from Parliament…the obstacles that the project still faces leave me with a certain

sense of

foreboding whether the spades will ever hit the ground. “Detailed plans will still need to

be drawn up, and will again have to go out for public consultation. There is talk of several local authorities around Heathrow mounting a legal challenge, as well as a judicial review. Separate reviews of flight paths and airspace are also required. “Each new hurdle that appears

will only increase delays further and the chance of another political

volte-face is ever

present.” He hoped that the vote “does

not just open another protracted chapter in the 30-year story of procrastination over Heathrow in particular and UK aviation capacity in general.” He called for the MPs’

decision to be accompanied by expedited planning procedures, with no reopening of high level arguments and robust handling of any legal challenges.

Emirates SkyCargo has added two new UK destinations to its network from Dubai – Edinburgh and London Stansted, bringing its total destinations in the country to eight. The two new daily 777-300ER-

operated passenger services, with space for around 20 tonnes of cargo per flight, add around 500 tonnes to the carrier’s 2,000-tonne capacity in the UK market, where Emirates is one of the top three international air cargo carriers.

Dismay as MEPs reject Mobility Package again

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) said it was concerned about the European Parliament’s failure to find a compromise on new regulations for the sector. It followed MEPs’ second rejection of proposals contained in the Mobility Package in early July. MEps voted against proposals

on posting of workers, driving and rest time rules and access to the profession and to the road haulage market. Following the first vote on 14 June, attempts had been made to broker a compromise, but this had been unsuccessful.

IRU said it was “a missed

opportunity to provide a balanced and practical framework for further negotiations with the Council and the Commission, an opportunity where the European Parliament could have set the scene. Now the discussions are back to square one and encouragements to find solutions during this legislative mandate are very limited.” Matthias Maedge, leading

the IRU’s work in Brussels commented: “The European Parliament has lost precious time. It may take years to find workable

solutions and the industry has to stay with a patchwork of national rules. It is now time to rethink the purpose of the Mobility Package 1 and the ambitions the European Commission has by the end of the mandate.” Clecat meanwhile welcomed

the European Parliament’s Transport Committee adoption of the revised Combined Transport Directive on 10 July. The report now sets a limit

of 150km for the road leg of a combined transport operation, but allows this to be exceeded where necessary to reach the nearest suitable road/rail terminal for the operation in question. This is an improvement on the current situation, Clecat believes.

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