A tale of two cities

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Anyone trying to do logistics in London is all too aware of the problems – massive traffic jams, night time lorry bans, the difficulty in finding somewhere to stop to make a delivery. And then there is the imminent arrival of the Ultra Low Emission Zone…

Malory Davies, Editor.

as well as mayor Sadiq Khan’s plan to ban lorries that do not meet his direct vision standards.

Compare that to New York which has just launched a $100 million scheme to modernise its freight distribution system. “Freight NYC is an investment in our city’s future,” says mayor Bill de Blasio. “By modernising our approach to shipping, we will create thousands of good-paying jobs while keeping our streets safer and cleaner.”

New York has many of the same problems as London – it is estimated that traffic congestion alone is costing the local economy $862 million a year. About 90 per cent of goods are moved by truck in the city, and it is calculated that local freight volumes will grow by some 68 per cent by 2045.

The plan is to invest in modernising existing maritime and rail assets, and for the city to work with private partners to build new distribution, transhipment, and warehousing facilities.

It will also promote and incentivise the use of environmentally-friendly green trucks for last mile delivery. In total, Freight NYC is expected to remove 15,000 vehicles’ worth of CO2 per year, helping to improve air quality and reduce asthma rates. The city administration reckons the programme will also create 5,000 “good-paying” jobs.

In London, the Mayor’s transport strategy document, published in March 2018, talks about reducing the adverse impacts of freight and service vehicles on the street network. “The Mayor aims to reduce the number of lorries and vans entering central London in the morning peak by ten per cent by 2026.”

The London document talks about shifting freight from road to cleaner modes and reviewing the potential benefits of a regional freight consolidation and distribution network. But there is nothing to match the detailed proposals set out in the New York plan.

But the contrast between the two approaches goes deeper than that. The London plan is all about minimising the impact of nasty, dirty freight vehicles. The New York plan is all about creating a better logistics system that supports the people who live in the city in a more efficient (and cleaner) way.

I hope you will read both plans – and I would love to know which you think is going give the best results.

New York: Freight NYC – Goods for the good of the city

London: The Mayor’s Transport Strategy 2018


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