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Testing regime wastes a day, says report

[ June 22, 2016   //   ]

The testing regime from perishable airfreight wastes about a day for urgent imports, argues the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in a report published on 22 June.

Currently up to 400 tonnes of perishables arrive by at Heathrow every morning, many of which need to be tested in laboratories for quality before they can be processed through customs. However, these samples are currently sent to Cambridge (about 60 miles north of the airport) for testing, taking about 24 hours. Installing testing laboratories nearer to Heathrow, as at Frankfurt airport, would reduce costs and speed up the process, the report argues.

In Frankfurt the process takes only three hours and fully-approved consignments can reach UK consignees faster by truck than they can by being directly moved to the UK.

The report also repeats an argument used by the developers of the new Liverpool2 container terminal – that while 65% of the UK population lives within a 150-mile radius of Liverpool Port, 91% of the UK’s deep-sea goods enter or leave via either Southampton or Felixstowe. The report estimates that this wastes 150 million road miles and creates about 0.2 million tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions.

However, the Freight Transport Association rejected the assertion that up to 30% of all road haulage vehicles on UK roads are empty because not enough use was being made of ports outside the south-east of England. Head of national and regional policy, Christopher Snelling, said: “IMechE itself notes in the report that the 30% figure is not representative of the situation as it includes such things as petrol and milk tankers returning to base, where there is literally nothing you could put in them.  So it is disappointing that they chose to put it forward without caveat.”

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