Over 100 delegates from across the sector attended last week’s CILT Annual Logistics Conference in Coventry to discuss the latest developments and innovations in urban logistics. Conference Chairman Robin Proctor, Group Supply Chain Director, Travis Perkins, informed delegates ‘90% of population growth is in cities and an astounding 80% of CO2 emissions originate from cities’. Robin revealed that there are 800 million cars in the world today and projections claim that by 2050 there will be 2 to 4 billion cars, contributing significantly to congestion.

The rapid pace of growth and change in consumer behaviour in cities around the world is providing urban logistics with a serious challenge and a distinct necessity for innovation. The CILT Annual Logistics Conference included speakers from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Transport for London (TfL), New York City Department for Transport, Clipper Logistics, Whitbread and CEMEX.

There were distinct parallels between the cities discussed; Dr Jon Lamonte FCILT, Chief Executive, Transport for Greater Manchester, kicked off the day’s conference informing delegates that Manchester is the 3rd most visited place in the UK, providing the city with massive economical potential. Jon stated that the key question for Manchester was: ‘how do we grow economically but also sustainably?’ He spoke of the developments in the relationship between public transport and freight logistics and revealed that freight was not in his job spec two and a half years ago but emphasised the need for ‘joined up thinking’.

One of the key innovations in delivering the consumer driven supply chain is out of hours and quiet deliveries. Brodie McMillan, Logistics Director, Whitbread, informed delegates of the rapid pace of growth Whitbread is experiencing with particular reference to the Premier Inn and Costa Coffee aspect of the business. From 2007/2008 to 2014/2015 Costa experienced a 262% increase in customer delivery locations and an 80% increase across the whole of the business.

Whitbread delivers to 900 Costa Coffee locations every night. Brodie spoke of the importance of driver training and awareness in making this possible, as well as truck modification including quiet fridge motors, reversing beepers, rubber buffers all needing modification for night time deliveries. Brodie believes that ‘quiet delivery is becoming a brand value’ and that ‘quiet deliveries are here to stay’.

Ian Wainwright FCILT, Head of Freight and Fleet Programme, Transport for London, emphasised that this is a time for change and innovation and told delegates: ‘your industry is changing beyond all recognition’. Ian informed delegates of the lessons TfL learnt during the delivery of the Olympic Games, he said: ‘We learnt the importance of talking to people and operators and being consistent with our message. Our philosophy for both moving freight and people during the games was reduce, retime, reroute and re-mode.’

The final topic of the day was the comparison of freight planning in London and New York with Stacey Hodge, Director, Freight Mobility, New York City DfT and Joe Dack, Transport Logistics Project Manager, HDR. Joe presented some of the differences and unique challenges that New York faces. HE informed delegates that the population of New York live in half the size of London, so there is a serious intensity in the space. One of the key issues for New York is accommodating growth and change which is similar to London.

Stacey claimed that there are ‘more commonalities than differences between New York and London and highlighted that the cities ‘should support each’ in innovation, development and change.

The conference closed with a high profile panel debate consisting of: Jenny Tipping, HGV Driver & CPC Trainer, Manpower Logistics; Richard Armitage FCILT, Director, European Cycle Logistics Federation; Martin Dean FCILT, Managing Director Bus Development, Go-Ahead Group and Philip Roe, VP Innovation, Strategy & Business Development, DHL.

In addition to the conference ITN productions launched its new news and current-affairs style programme, in partnership with the Institute, Vision 2035. The programme is a news-style piece that combines industry interviews and reports with sponsored editorial profiles of some of the leading organisations in the sector. The online programme is specifically aimed at the UK transport and logistics sector and it will present the key long-term issues facing the industry as well as draw upon the CILT Vision 2035 policy series.