UK shippers back Heathrow plans for cargo investment

UK shippers have welcomed plans to double cargo volumes at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Chris Welsh, Freight Transport Association director of global and European policy, said: “Heathrow’s planned investment and increased freight capacity is excellent news, and exactly the type of commitment that FTA has long been asking for. 
“The significance of airfreight is often overlooked, but today’s announcement illustrates that Heathrow Airport has listened very carefully to ourselves and the freight industry.  The improvements it is proposing are essential to the growth and success of the UK economy.”
Addressing the British Chambers of Commerce conference, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Cargo is essential for UK PLC and Heathrow is its global freight connector, with 26% of all UK goods by value going through the airport. This investment plan will significantly improve our cargo facilities and support British businesses to keep the economy moving, connecting exporters to the world and helping the government reach its £1trn export target by 2020.”
Previously the UK’s FTA had stated that air cargo and the essential role it plays is often overlooked, and in particular highlighted the importance of transporting pharmaceutical, high-end manufactured good and other products reliant of air freight to reach vital overseas markets – as outlined in its Sky High Value – the importance of airfreight to the UK economy document.
The proposals outlined by Heathrow include a specialist pharmaceutical storage area – to support airlines moving highly valuable and temperature sensitive medicines and other goods.  The improved infrastructure is said to reduce congestion and provide smoother processes, enabling freight to flow better through the airport and halving the process time from 8-9 hours, to four hours.
Welsh added: “Time sensitive goods such as medicines rely on air freight transportation and can’t realistically travel any other way.  There has long been insufficient controlled temperature arrangements to move pharmaceuticals – the proposed improvements to provide this and to accelerate implementation of e-freight is essential in halving door-to-door air cargo movements.
"These are vital steps to enhance the competitiveness of UK exports and to make Heathrow a world-class air cargo hub.”

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