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Following congestion problems last Christmas, Heathrow has announced a new plan to keep traffic moving through its “horseshoe” cargo zone.

The airport will be using a more comprehensive queuing, marshalling and traffic lights system than last year. It’s also doubled capacity at control posts and will have a dedicated security duty manager for cargo, as well as an app providing congestion updates.

Segro, the company which owns the horseshoe, will also be providing extra staff and has arranged additional police presence.

However, while forwarders and hauliers have made it clear they don’t want a repeat of last year, Nick Platts, head of cargo at Heathrow, has warned that they too need to make plans rather than blaming delays on others.

Heathrow warns of peak season congestion

Speaking to The Loadstar, Platts said: “We need the sheds to plan together, and early. Hauliers need to stop sending vehicles which sit in the horseshoe for eight or nine hours. But companies don’t want them in their own yards. Then the sheds say the forwarders don’t pick up on time and the forwarders blame the sheds. Everyone blames everyone else.”

According to Platts, there was going to be more collaboration between companies, including sheds publishing their optimal times for collection, but not much seems to have happened, except for one or two individual companies like Goldstar, which will be doing a “milk run” to consolidate loads and reduce the number of vehicles.

“We also asked BIFA, but have had no response,” said Platts. “What are its members going to do about it?”

Last year trucks were waiting up to 12 hours during the most congested periods. This year, Heathrow has identified 11 “high risk” days and 23 “medium risk” days in the run-up to Christmas.

Source: The Loadstar

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