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Heathrow Airport is this week to publish its latest cargo blueprint, outlining its plans for freight, which could see it spend up to £160m, if approved by airlines.
The plans include air-to-air transhipments, which should help reduce the time it takes to process the cargo, and an on-airport facility to eliminate the need for transhipments to go through the cargo area or pass through control posts twice.
The airport also highlighted better airside access, with airlocks and compounds to move cargo between landside and airside; streamlined paperwork, to reduce errors and speed up access to aircraft; and automated systems for vehicle tracking and access.
The blueprint comes as the airport prepares to issue a request for proposals for a Call Forward Initiative, to reduce lorry congestion at the horseshoe. While the airport has so far been unable to find land for a lorry park, it hopes a “digital” call forward system will improve congestion.
“The scheme is in two parts – physical and digital – and due to a lack of land in the area we’re only able to progress the digital element at the moment,” explained Nick Platts, head of cargo for the airport. “We’re doing this in response to industry expressing their concerns about congestion in the horseshoe. This project is aimed squarely at improving safety, reducing congestion and emissions, reducing delays and improving visibility.”
The blueprint also notes that the airport is considering several other ideas, including a common-user perishables centre and a distribution and consolidation centre close by.
Since re-discovering its interest in cargo in 2014, Heathrow is now consulting with stakeholders to work out the best way to boost its freight product and the supply chain. Heathrow saw more than £100bn-worth of goods go through it last year – 30% of UK exports. The new plans will see it double its cargo capacity to 3m tonnes by 2040.
Heathrow will share its blueprint with the industry at Multimodal UK in Birmingham, which opens today. Copies of The Loadstar LongRead will be available at the event, which features a discussion panel with Nick Platts, Schiphol’s Jonas van Stekelenburg and head of cargo for Manchester Airports Group Conan Busby.
You can find the LongRead here.