Gutter politics

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You can hire the top supply chain planners, restructure your operations, install the most sophisticated systems and maintain the most modern equipment to maximise the performance of your supply chain and minimise the costs.

And then, in an instant, all that work is rendered irrelevant. You guessed it, you just got hit by a £60 parking fine while trying to deliver to a city centre store. The situation is so bad that one company in food logistics has reportedly set a minimum delivery size of half a tonne for some locations. It knows it will get a penalty charge notice and consequently it loses money if it tries to deliver anything smaller. Government figures show that penalty charge notices are now a £1.3 billion business.

Gordon Telling of the Freight Transport Association has run his slide rule over the MoJ’s numbers and, using information from local authorities, calculates that PCNs cost commercial vehicle operators at least £500m a year. He also points out that operators spend about £100m a year fighting PCNs, taking the total cost to some £600m. The introduction of differential parking charges has also hit commercial vehicle operations. In practice the lower charge was applied to contraventions that mostly affected private cars and the higher charge to those usually suffered by commercial operators. This has added £100m to the bill for PCNs. Telling is pressing local authorities in central London to provide better access for delivery vehicles.

The problem, of course, is that for local authorities PCNs are very profitable and delivery vehicles are soft targets. Councils don’t seem to care that this behaviour damages the businesses that serve their communities and pay the taxes upon which they rely. It’s time the government took a lead and promoted an approach that does not penalise companies for carrying out their normal supply chain activities.

Expanding career opportunities

Over the past couple of years, our web site has not only become the place to look for that next career move in logistics, it has also been attracting more and more supply chain vacancies. This month, we are rebranding it to reflect its broader reach. Hope you find it even more useful.

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