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            december 12, 2018

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New voices join chorus of complaints over Heathrow cargo congestion


British truckers in the Road Haulage Association (RHA) have added their voices to a rising chorus of complaints levelled at Heathrow Airport over its chronic air freight congestion, according to Shipping Gazette.
According to Motor Transport, cargo shipments have surged 10.5 per cent year on year at Heathrow, making congestion worse.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also urged Whitehall to shore-up its international air connectivity by focusing on a "cost-effective expansion" of Heathrow.
IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac urged the UK government to address "severe capacity constraints" in the southeast of the UK by expanding Heathrow.
"Heathrow is where expansion should take place. I know the struggle to build a third runway has meant decades of frustration. But the UK will be left behind if it does not come to a final decision," said Mr de Juniac.
The UK Department for Transport's Draft National Policy Statement notes that a third runway at Heathrow will support up to 110,000 jobs.
"Expanding Heathrow is about building prosperity. It should be a priority for the UK. And facing the post-Brexit world makes it even more urgent," said Mr de Juniac.
"Heathrow is already the most expensive airport in the world from which to operate. It is essential that Heathrow's charges do not rise," he said.
Mr de Juniac also said a "successful airport" needs enough capacity and quality, aligned with airline operational needs and costs that are affordable.
Frequent critic of Heathrow congestion is British International Freight Association (BIFA) director general Robert Keen.
"Congestion at the horseshoe (the airport's cargo centre) is as bad as it has ever been and local police are now turning away vehicles," he said,
This, said Mr Keen, leads to a "huge rise in complaints from our members". Britain's largest port by value recently announced that its cargo volumes have soared over the past 12 months.
Last month its non-executive Lord Deighton launched a new plan to minimise the impact of emissions caused by freight vehicles around the airport.
Said Mr Keen: "Our members, who currently are enduring misery on a daily basis when using the airport's cargo centre, want action not words."
Plans for an underground warehouse were approved at Heathrow Airport in July, but the facility will not undergo construction until 2019, with cargo space not available until 2022.
Additionally, plans to vote for a third runway at the airport were again delayed until 2018 - the second delay since 2016. A third runway has been been the subject of heated debate for years as a crucial piece of infrastructure in preventing a cargo capacity crisis.

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