By Joseph O’Reilly
London’s Olympic Park is one of 28 venues to host 302 Olympic events. Industry lobbies are working to ensure freight continues to move into and out of the city during the Games.
London Braces for Olympic-sized Logistics Logjam
For global TV viewers, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London will be a two-week parade of sports pomp and pageantry. But behind the scenes, a grittier story will unfold—how the rest of London gets on with life during a busy fortnight.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA), a United Kingdom trade lobby, has been public advocate number one, working on behalf of the commercial sector to help identify ways to keep freight moving during the Olympics.
“It is vital that commercial vehicle operators intending to deliver into London and other destinations over the next few months understand the restrictions and disruption the Olympics will cause, and plan around them,” says Natalie Chapman, head of policy, Freight Transport Association, London.
The FTA is still awaiting final details on restrictions, but has counseled businesses to begin contingency plans for managing deliveries and supply chains around road closures, loading and unloading restrictions, and other route changes. The trade association also published a comprehensive guide with maps, diagrams, and details of expected restrictions that will be in force across London venues, as well as advice on how shippers can coordinate deliveries around night-time curfews.
“London’s roads are the most heavily regulated in the country, with the London Lorry Control Scheme limiting routes at night and during weekends, and the Low Emission Zone dictating the age of vehicles that can operate in Greater London,” says Chapman. “Add the Congestion Charge Zone and all the normal parking and loading restrictions, and London will be a delivery minefield ready to trigger fines, penalty charge notices, and license revocation for the unwary and unprepared.”
To counter some of these challenges, the FTA has been campaigning for authorities to relax both delivery curfews and London’s truck-toll scheme so that shippers and carriers can take advantage of off-peak hours.
In the meantime, Olympic organizers, the British government, emergency services, health providers, and transport carriers recently staged a three-day test period to mimic conditions during the Games’ busiest slate, when 26 sports will take place across 14 venues. Authorities initiated possible incidents to see how different parties would react, and tested procedures put in place to deal with problems.