Forwarders call for action to end Heathrow's congestion ‘misery’

01 / 11 / 2017

The head of the UK’s freight forwarders’ group has called foraction not words” over growing congestion at London Heathrow airport’s cargo terminal.

British International Freight Association (BIFA) director general Robert Keen says that congestion at the so-called Horseshoe Road area of Heathrow “is as bad as it has ever been and the local police are now turning away vehicles, leading to a huge rise in complaints from our members”.

His comments follow the launch in October of a new plan by Heathrow non-executive director Lord Deighton to minimise emissions caused by freight vehicles around the airport.

This included a Cloud app for local forwarders, upgrading cargo infrastructure to allow more airside transhipments, consolidation points and building a new cargo village to reduce vehicle movements.

However, Keen says that Heathrow is already at crisis point. “We understand the airport will collaborate with local authorities to address congestion points with the introduction of a code of conduct for operators and a joint strategic freight plan for local roads.”

But, he warned, BIFA members “are enduring misery on a daily basis when using the airport's cargo centre”.

A spokesperson for industrial warehouse developer SEGRO, whose assets include the majority of Heathrow Airport’s airside cargo facilities, said: “We read with interest the 10 point plan that Heathrow has put forward on handling cargo. We are keen to work with them to understand their plans in detail and work out a joint plan, with our customers, on how to handle the increase in freight in the most sustainable way.”

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We’re working closely with our colleagues and stakeholders to address the congestion surrounding Heathrow’s cargo centre. As the UK’s largest port by value, it’s a priority for us to provide fast and reliable access for cargo vehicles.

“We understand that congestion and extended wait times in Shoreham Road still occur and are taking steps to address that. The Landlord is working on improvements and Heathrow is also reviewing innovative solutions to help in the short term.”