Food and drink transport logistics under review

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Environmental impact Logistics

A new survey of UK food and drink transport operations will give food companies a benchmark of their efficiency in this area, according to Scala Logistics Consulting.

The UK’s Department of Transport (DfT) has commissioned Scala to monitor the environmental impact of transport in the food and drink sector, and it follows on from a similar survey undertaken by the consultants in 2007.

Scala group partner, Graham Stubbs, said that 40 companies, via managers and drivers of the vehicles, have agreed to measure the performance of their trucks on 12 March for 24 hours, and he told that many more food and drink manufacturers have indicated they are ready to come on board.

The scheme is DfT funded with Scala providing the tracking software to participating companies.

According to Stubbs, the key performance indicators that will be monitored on a continuous basis during the survey day include vehicle fill, empty running, time utilisation, delays to schedule, and fuel consumption.

Lower costs

Environmental efficiency, argues Stubbs, brings its own rewards in lower operation costs, and he said that participation in the survey will provide logistics managers with comprehensive data showing how efficiently their vehicles are operating including how full they are, how many miles they run on empty, and the effect of traffic and loading/unloading delays.

He said that Scala is running support workshops in relation to the scheme to ensure that company personnel understand what is involved in the process and how to run the software.

The results of this carbon footprint monitoring will also indicate what progress, if any, has been achieved since the 2007 survey was carried out, added Stubbs.

Shared transport initiative

Meanwhile, the IGD announced in October that its Sustainable Distribution project, which involved the teaming up of UK food and consumer goods companies to reduce the environmental impact of transporting food and groceries,​had surpassed its targeted saving of 48 million miles.

IGD president, Sir Alastair Sykes, claims that the 53 million road miles saved is equivalent to removing 900 trucks from Britain’s roads or conserving 26 million litres of diesel fuel per year.

“These results are a significant achievement for the food industry and demonstrate the determination that exists among manufacturers and retailers to minimise our environmental impact,” ​added Sykes.

He said that as a result of the initiative, Nestlé was able to identify that United Biscuits was running empty trucks from close to Nestlé’s factories in the north to the midlands: “Nestlé and United Biscuits were therefore able to work together to create roundtrips which are more efficient and avoid empty truck movements.”

According to Sykes, United Biscuits trucks now collect a load of Nestlé products each day from Nestlé’s factories in York and Halifax and deliver to the Midlands.

He said that while the project has mainly involved larger companies, the IGD is seeking to share the outputs of the initiative across the industry to encourage improvements from companies of all sizes, and as a result a free guide explaining how small and larger businesses alike can make similar savings is available from the IGD website​.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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