The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recently made the headlines when it issued a statement calling on the government to release up to £1.5bn of unspent funds to spend on measures including road upgrades.
According to its director general, John Cridland, the UK needs an “industrial Olympics” to help kick-start our still-fragile economy.
If, as the CBI confidently states, the funds are indeed there and can be made available, then this is something we would wholeheartedly welcome. In particular, from a road transport point of view, our industry would really welcome an overhaul of the UK road network which we believe would not only help the economy, but which could also have huge beneficial impacts for the environment in terms of reduced carbon emissions.
Our mantra at Wincanton is that we constantly strive to “unlock potential” within customers’ supply chains. What that means is that we use our experience and expertise to find untapped efficiencies and apply market-leading innovations to help save our customers’ money, help them grow their businesses and reduce their impact on the environment – aims which, if applied correctly, can often all fit together beautifully.
In recent years our drive to create more efficient and sustainable logistics solutions has been relentless, and has seen Wincanton at the forefront of transport innovation, including engineering breakthroughs, reduced journeys, development of collaborative working arrangements, investment in driver training – the list goes on.
So it’s fair to say we’re proud of our achievements. However, as a business, there are only so many things we can change for ourselves and for our customers, and it’s incredibly frustrating when outside factors impact negatively on our own efforts.
In particular the state of our road network in the UK can have a very detrimental effect on congestion and consequently, our operational performance. The net knock-on effect is increased costs for us and our customers, eventually leading to increased costs to the public when they pay for their goods at the checkout.
All of which brings us neatly back to the CBI’s calls for investment in infrastructure.
To his credit John Cridland has come out strongly on this subject, saying he and his colleagues are “frustrated by lack of action” on major infrastructure projects and specifically calling for up to £200 million to be passed to local authorities to spend on upgrading our roads in 2013.
In truth, £200 million isn’t a particularly vast amount of money when you’re looking at the entire UK road network, but it’s a start. The environment, and how all our activities impact upon it, should concern everybody, and while Wincanton, along with many other UK transport companies, is putting vast resources into R&D to find better ways of doing things, we need that public sector commitment to better infrastructure if we are to truly succeed.
Anything that helps improve traffic flow and reduces congestion has to be good for us, our customers, the general public and of course the environment.
The Wincanton team