Retailers demand better Olympics planning

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The British Retail Consortium is calling for delivery restrictions to be lifted, and for more information to enable retailers to plan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

It seized on the opening of Westfield Stratford City to press London Mayor Boris Johnson for more information about transport arrangements, and for detailed road plans to be provided by the end of October rather than December as is currently planned.

In  letter to Johnson, BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “The retail sector is always dependent on a good delivery network and that is even more true at times of increased demand. Retailers will have to make deliveries overnight during the Games to satisfy customer demand. We need to know the necessary steps are being taken to lift local restrictions, and to inform the public about what will be going on and why. Test events have also highlighted the need for a single source of information for businesses… 

“Retailers want to play their part in making the Games a success. All we’re asking for is the information we need to help make that happen.”

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The BRC highlighted four issues in its letter to the mayor.

1. Olympic Route Network and Paralympic Route Network
It is concerned that providing detailed plans in December will be too late and wants the mayor to ensure this information is published no later than the end of October.

2. Night-time deliveries
The BRC says the success of the ORN and PRN will depend on the removal of local authority delivery restrictions so that retailers are able to deliver through the night

3. Lack of a central point for information
The BRC is concerned that there is currently no central point to obtain information regarding road closure times and restrictions.

4. Driver and vehicle recognition
The BRC asks if it would be possible to have a driver and vehicle recognition process in place to help ease the impacts on deliveries.

* Transport for London has released data online to help freight companies manage the deliveries they make and plan the routes they use during the 2012 Games.

Companies can use the data to check whether individual postcodes in the Capital will be affected by the Olympic Route Network, Central London Zone or road events. By entering the data into their routeing software companies are able to highlight the postcodes that contain both the ORN, for example, and one or more of their delivery locations. That will allow them to produce a list of both clients and locations that will be affected during the games, and will be a timesaving tool when planning deliveries.

The information, which TfL has produced in conjunction with Royal Mail, is now available online at

The postcode data is one of the first parts of a series of detailed information that will be provided to the freight industry to help companies plan for the games. A timetable detailing what additional information will become available, along with timescales for their release, will be published later this month, alongside an improved and updated freight web portal for the industry to use. In addition, TfL is working on the development of a freight journey planning tool.

Graham Inglis, chair of 2012 Freight Forum and CEO of DHL Supply Chain, said: “We know that come games time the transport network will be a lot busier. However, now is the time for businesses that rely on freight deliveries to get their action plans in shape. The aim is to minimise the impact of the Games on their daily operations, and the new postcode data that TfL has released will be critical to this planning process. It will be crucial in the coming months to identify potentially challenging areas to keep business operations running smoothly next year.”

The BRC is holding a conference for retail members tomorrow (Wednesday) to consider the impact the games will have on the retail sector and to help share what information there is.


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