London restrictions strangling haulage, warns company chief

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Restrictive transport regulations in London are strangling the haulage industry, Adam Hopcraft managing director of Pall-Ex member Premier Palletised has warned.

He argues that transport companies are now squeezed so tight that the industry as a whole in the area may face an unstable future, as more of their turnover is eaten up by trying to meet the new laws.

The most recent threat is the introduction of the Greater London Low Emission Zone (LEZ). The next stage of the LEZ comes into force on 3rd January when commercial vehicles will need to conform to the Euro IV emissions legislation to drive into the capital.

“This is another heavy blow to the London haulage industry. Several businesses will be forced to spend a huge amount of money replacing perfectly good vehicles – entire fleets in some cases,” said Hopcraft. “Even then, those vehicles can’t then be sold to other hauliers in the area because of the legislation. It makes them worthless to any freight or distribution company operating in London.”

He also highlighted the impact of the London Congestion Charge when it was introduced in 2003 and the cost of fuel.

“You can see the effect this has had on the industry when you see that there are no new hauliers in London. While that means less competition for us, it also points to the fact that the market there is not as viable as it once was.

“It appears that this increasing amount of legislation is put into effect without considering the economic impacts. Nearly every shop in London has its goods delivered by lorry or van. What does it mean to them if they cannot get deliveries, or if the increased cost to the couriers is passed on to them – and, in turn, to their customers.”

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