Following the announcement today (2 January 2019) that the government is investing in the creation of robots to help repair the UK's vast underground pipe network and prevent disruption of roadworks in the future, Malcolm Bingham, Head of Policy North of England at the Freight Transport Association (FTA) commented:
“FTA is delighted the government has realised the extent of the disruption caused to road users by unexpected roadworks and taken an innovative approach to combat this serious issue. Unexpected roadworks are one of the biggest challenges to the logistics industry; they prevent hauliers from operating at maximum efficiency, and ultimately, hinder the growth of the UK economy. While the UK logistics sector is judged as eighth in the world in terms of performance – a drop of one place from last year – on close analysis it becomes clear that most of the issues faced by the country’s operators are due to poor infrastructure and roadworks. These cause unnecessary delays and force companies to add additional journeys to catch up on jobs. And this extra mileage, emissions and fuel use only add to a fleet operator’s bottom line and, inevitably, to the price the customer pays for goods and services.
“The development of these robots is a perfect example of how government should be deploying advanced technology to solve the problems facing the logistics sector, where appropriate, keeping the cost of repairs to a minimum and ensuring that traffic keeps moving while work is undertaken. FTA hopes the robots are successful in their mission and set a precedent for ongoing government innovation and future investment.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.