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20 March 2020

News Flash

North East Freight Partnership Annual Leaflet

We at the Partnership hope that you are managing to keep safe and well during these difficult times.

Despite the recent challenges, 2019-20 was another very successful year for the North East Freight Partnership with growing interest and support in the work of the Partnership.

The Partnership has maintained a valued stakeholder group over the years, with input from transport operators of road, rail and water, industry representatives, local authorities, academic and training bodies and key local stakeholder groups. It is important to acknowledge that it is your input and support that has assisted the Partnership to succeed year on year.

The new leaflet which provides an overview of the year’s activities can be downloaded here. We look forward to continuing to promote safe, sustainable and efficient freight transport within the region in due course.

12 August 2019

News Flash

Next Rail Freight Group Meeting: Hitachi Rail Limited

Newton Aycliffe Manufacturing Facility, Merchant Park, Millennium Way, Aycliffe Business Park, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 6UG, Wednesday 16th October, 10.30am-2pm
Further to the below, a reminder that if you would like to come to come on the tour to the Hitachi facility let me know. Spaces are limited so you will need to book a place this time. Please let me know by return

We have now added Eddie Peat from Harworth Estates and an update from a rail freight specialist from AECOM (Michael Whittaker) to give an update on wider trends in the sector.

We are delighted to have secured our venue for the next Rail Freight Group meeting: The Hitachi Train Manufacturing Plant at Newton Aycliffe. This will involve a tour of the facilities, lunch and presentations relating to Rail Freight in the North East. We have already secured speakers from Network Rail and HM Prison and Probation Service. A full agenda will be provided in due course.

As tour places are limited please respond direct to me Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you need assistance getting there, let me know and I can look to try and arrange transport. The nearest train station is Heighington and Aycliffe Business Park is served by buses 5 and 5A which also serve Bishop Auckland and Darlington.

Let me know if you have any questions.


23 May 2019

News Flash

North East and Tees Valley Water Freight Event Review – 6th February 2019

John Bourn, from the North East Regional Transport Team, welcomed guests to this second Water Freight event co-hosted by the North East, North of Tyne and Tees Valley Combined Authorities, and held in the impressive surroundings of the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. The audience at the well-attended event included representatives from ports, terminal operators, hauliers, shippers, Local Authorities and trade associations. John explained that the North East Freight Partnership is the longest-running Freight Quality Partnership in the UK and the aim of this meeting was to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities facing the water freight sector in the region, with a particular focus on Brexit.

We heard presentations from a wide variety of speakers, comprising the Ports of Sunderland, Tyne, Antwerp and PD Ports, as well as reviews from P&O the shipping company and CILT regarding intelligent solutions for the freight industry. It was underlined that the maritime industry is of enormous economic importance – 80% of the world’s goods are moved by sea, with 5% using UK ports. Andrew Oxby of PD Ports outlined the key economic role of Teesport, which supports over 3,500 jobs in the supply chain and has delivered more than £175m of investment in the last 8 years. He explained how they are preparing for Brexit by enhancing cargo storage capacity, preparing for disruption at the border, gaining Approved Economic Operator (AEO) accreditation and recruiting extra drivers. He stressed that ports around the UK are not cargo owners but they are doing everything possible to support their customers and to create the necessary capacity and resilience within the port infrastructure.

Nick Pank, the Head of Freight for P & O, outlined the issues around Brexit from a shipper’s viewpoint. He spoke about the challenges Brexit presents to shippers and the measures they are considering to mitigate its impacts. Justin Atkin from Port of Antwerp highlighted the possibilities the Belgian Port offered for North East Ports and businesses post-Brexit. With a significant capacity of 15m TEUs, the port is primed to mitigate disruption caused at other ports by Brexit and, as it already has the UK as one of its top 5 markets, it is experienced in facilitating trade with this country. Incorporating 15 breakbulk terminals and 12 dry bulk terminals as well as liquid storage, Justin was keen to emphasize the wide ranging facilities at the port. Tim Morris of the CILT spoke about how the use of technology could help to overcome some of the challenges ahead, helping to address problems of congestion and long delays for Customs clearance arising out of Brexit. He identified a number of issues for the future, including:

  • Smart infrastructure
  • Data security
  • Automation
  • Supply chain digitalisation
  • Internet of Things
Tim outlined the potential role digitalisation could play in port operation and the cargo supply chain. Nolan Gray from Port of Tyne and Matthew Hunt from Port of Sunderland both spoke about the role and history of their ports, their present operations and plans for future growth. Brexit does provide threats to supply chains but could also create opportunities to do things differently. There was a strong theme around looking to maximise the capacity of Northern ports while recognising the needs of the nation in terms of the quick flow of goods. Northern ports working together and continuing to invest was a strong narrative. Movement activity is generally down to the clients, the shipping companies and customers, but by investing in facilities, ports can make sure they are ready for any challenges and any opportunities that might arise if Brexit causes bottlenecks in and around Southern ports. In addition, by working collaboratively on big regional issues, more effective action can be taken.

One theme of the day was driver shortages, which were mentioned in more than one presentation highlighting the issues of an ageing workforce and reliance on drivers from other EU states. Solutions including non-attended loads and containerisation could help with driver availability but won’t entirely solve the problem. The North East Freight Partnership has a Skills Working Group operating which aims to discuss these concerns and help find solutions. if anyone would like to get involved in the group, please do get in touch.

New technology was also another theme. For example, the Port of Antwerp is looking at the deployment of drone technology to support port operations. A holistic look at systems will help. Combining automation in the shipping industry with automation on the highway network will start to have end to end journey time benefits. We do however need to improve interfaces and sharing of data as well as combining telecommunications and highways planning.

We also heard about the place of ports in the wider community. They are recognized for their key economic role as places to import / export and invest in, but also support wider society and much work has been done by the ports who attended on their CSRs. Thank you to all those who attended the event. The presentations from the various ports and from the CILT accompany this note.

19 October 2018

News Flash

Change of Date - North East Water Freight Event - now 6th February 2019

Dear all,

Following feedback from delegates and potential speakers, we have taken the decision to postpone the North East Water Freight Event to a date in the new year -now Wednesday, 6th February 2019. The event will not take place on 16th November as previously stated.

Apologies for any inconvenience this change may cause.

This is in order to maximise attendance and provide the best agenda we can. The event remains at the National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL. We will hear from a number of the region’s Ports (including Port of Sunderland), have updates on developing strategy and policy, the Freight Transport Association and others. There will be a chance to network and lunch will be provided.

A more detailed agenda will be sent out in due course.

Let me know if you have any questions.

20 April 2018

News Flash

Terrorism Risk and Incident Prevention (TRIP) – Free courses for North East Operators

Unfortunately, the risk of terrorism in the UK is something that we all have to live with every day and as seen in many of the recent terrorist attacks, commercial vehicles are commonly used by terrorists as weapons, resulting in a large number of fatalities and casualties. As security at operating sites increases, as well as changes in security procedures in the hiring of vehicles, the risks to commercial fleet drivers in the potential theft or hijacking of their vehicle for terrorism purposes also increases.

In recognition of this the North East Freight Partnership are fully funding two further TRIP courses to be held on the 23rd June and 29th September at Holiday Inn Washington, Emerson Road, NE37 1LB.

CPC Accredited, the TRIP training course provides drivers with the underpinning knowledge and understanding relating to the background, activity and methods adopted by International and Domestic terrorists that concern all who operate within the Transport Industry. The course identifies and describes the type of threats and risks that Drivers face and will enhance Driver and employer roles and responsibilities when carrying out daily tasks and duties to reduce these risks. TRIP is a 7-hour, JAUPT Approved course and can contribute towards the 35 hours approved DCPC training that professional Drivers require.

If you would like to book you or your drivers onto courses please follow the links below

Let me know if you have any questions.

20 March 2017

News Flash

Have your say on: Freight fleet operator compliance schemes

Erica Ballantyne (University of Sheffield) and Graeme Heron (Newcastle University) are two ex-transport industry professionals and academic researchers with comprehensive cross sector knowledge, are investigating the appropriateness of Fleet operator recognition and compliance schemes (such as FORS) as business management tools.

The timing of this research is appropriate for a number of reasons including the second anniversary of the FORS national roll-out and the triggering of Article 50.

One of these is still expected to be to reduce end to end route times looking at ‘first mile / last mile’ scenarios and urban consolidation. These could impact upon our sector so being a member of a compliance scheme can bring potential benefits in that you are seen as being practice / continuously improving, rather than complying.

The research aims to:

  • Develop suggestions for membership to assist companies overcoming barriers to membership regardless of their size or industry sector.
  • Assess the suitability of compliance schemes as a business quality management tool.
  • Reveal hidden links between operator schemes and management theory.

Your participation in this survey is greatly appreciated and entirely voluntary. The survey will take approx. 10-12 mins to complete and all responses will remain entirely anonymous.

The survey is open now until April 30th 2017, to take part follow this link address: Investigating the efficiency of fleet compliance schemes for freight transport operators or search Google Docs using the search term: FORS survey: Investigating the efficiency of fleet compliance schemes for freight transport operators

Additionally, if you are willing to participate in an interview on this topic please contact: Dr Erica Ballantyne or Dr Graeme Heron

You can also use this button
Open in Forms

30 November 2016

News Flash

Logistics higher skills workshop in Middlesbrough 15th December

Operators in the south of our region may be interested in an event being held at Teesside University on 14th December, in partnership with our neighbours in the Tees Valley Combined Authority. The free to attend breakfast workshop is intended to help the university develop its new degree level qualifications for the logistics sector. The attached flier provides more details including how to book a place on the workshop.

Smith Electric Vehicles is making a return to the UK market

Smith Electric Vehicles is making a return to the UK market with its new range of all-electric delivery trucks due to hit the roads next March.

The North East-based OEM has produced electric vehicles for more than 70 years, from its early days as a milk float specialist to its modern electric CV range that started development in the mid 2000s.

Link to article:

23 November 2016

News Flash

Rail group appreciate visit to Hitachi factory

The North East Freight Partnership’s Rail Partner Group enjoyed a special meeting on 15th November. Their autumn meeting was held at the Hitachi Rail factory in Newton Aycliffe and incorporated a fascinating tour of the manufacturing and assembly plant which was developed to support the DfT-led Intercity Express Programme and future Hitachi Rail projects.

The factory is currently building 500 carriages for the East Coast Main Line and a further 360 for the Great Western as well as new 100mph commuter trains for ScotRail’s Edinburgh to Glasgow service. Attendees at the meeting were able to watch as construction work took place on the new trains and tour the impressive facilities of the plant.

The meeting which followed enjoyed informative updates about Network Rail’s investment plans, Transport for the North’s recent freight report, national trends in rail freight traffic and Durham County Council’s proposals for a possible new intermodal freight interchange at nearby Forrest Park.

Partnership Chair John Bourn commented: “This was another stimulating and well-attended meeting and we must give a special thanks to Hitachi Rail for their hospitality and for the fascinating tour of the facility. We have had lots of positive feedback from attendees saying how much they enjoyed the day.”

November Rail Partner Group Presentations

Presentations from the November meeting are available for download here.
• East Coast Route Study
• Forrest Park Rail Interchange
• DFT Study: Modal Shift
• TfN Freight and Rail Update

5 October 2016

News Flash

Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS)

Northumberland County Council have committed to raise awareness of the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) standard within the region. The Council has agreed to adopt the CLOCS standard for its own vehicle fleet and drivers. They are also working towards only engaging suppliers in 2020 who meet the standard. In addition, during 2016-17, the Council plans to apply for Bronze accreditation in the Fleet operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) and will then aim to achieve Silver, and ultimately Gold membership.

The attached letter from the County Council give full details of their proposals and of the benefits from involvement in CLOCS, FORS and the Safe Urban Driving courses organised by the Freight Partnership.

31 March 2015

News Flash

The Butterwell Report

Harworth Estates, the owners of Butterwell Disposal Point, intend to put forward the following major rail-associated proposals as part of the ‘Butterwell’ surface mine restoration scheme.

The Butterwell Disposal Point to remain in place as a long term strategic commercial rail-connected facility, the facility to be further enhanced with the introduction of additional land for future rail-associated use. This additional land would be created during the restoration of Butterwell surface mine and would offer a rail-connected facility with a total site area of 20 hectares. It also involves the full reinstatement of Harworth Estates’ privately-owned ‘Ashington to Butterwell’ railway line which runs via New Moor, Potland, and Linton Lane. This line runs through Butterwell Disposal Point.

The document discusses the proposals in more detail. You can download the document here