Is rail freight a real solution?

Category: DeliveryNewsDeliveryNewsServicesNews

Is rail freight a real solution?

According to the Rail Technology Magazine (RTM) sending more goods by rail has the potential to dramatically reduce road congestion, road collisions, CO2 and NOx emissions. Consumer rail freight, which has consistently grown this year, is well-placed to offer the long-distance trunk haul.

In fact, government figures show the potential for modal shift to rail as the largest HGVs (5+ axles) make far more longer distance journeys than the smaller lorries. A quarter of all their trips are over 300km so some of this traffic should be captive to rail if there is enough rail capacity.

Freight on Rail – a partnership of the rail freight operators, Rail Freight Group, Network Rail, the transport trade unions and Campaign for Better Transport, state that almost two thirds of the public (61%) want more freight on the railway, with only 2% wanting to see more on the roads.

Britains exit from the EU means that there are more trading opportunities with countries further afield, and the recent link created between the UK and China via the silk road railway shows that far away destinations could be well within reach.

Seven key targets were created by the FTA, after discussion with existing and potential customers, they were as follows:

1 Cost reduction by 15% based on current costs plus innovation
2 Six-hour response time to service and alteration requests
3 Seven-day railway capability
4 Standard train lengths should be increased by 17.5%
5 400% increase in terminal capacity
6 Reduce intermodal transfer costs by £50
7 Reduce Channel Tunnel rail freight charges and rates by £50

Rail freight is still in its infancy compared to other means, and it certainly isn’t going to be quick fix. Existing infrastructure would not support such change at the moment, and its something to look to as more of a long term plan to ease the burden, but not take over from the more traditional approaches that are tried and tested. Rail freight can only be part of the supply chain and cannot be a complete solution, but it could go a long way to ease other areas from over use, especially post brexit.


UK logistics needs European workers to continue trading

According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), without EU workers the UK’s freight and logistics industry could grind to a halt. They are calling for urgent clarification on the timings involved for new workers rights. They are also petitioning the government to ensure that the application process for EU citizens is as seamless as possible which would prevent a lack of available skilled working leading to delays in services.

EU workers currently account for 13% of HGV drivers and 26% of warehouse operatives employed in the UK’s freight and logistics industry, itself a net £121 billion Gross Value Added contributor to the national economy. And with 2.54 million people currently working in the UK’s logistics sector nationwide, removing this proportion of the workforce could have a disastrous effect on the UK’s economy, according to the FTA.

“The Government’s announcement on the rights of EU workers to remain and work in the UK is a welcome first step in enabling businesses to plan and manage their workforces,” says Pauline Bastidon, Head of European Policy at FTA, which represents more than 16,000 businesses in the logistics sector. “But there is still much to be done to ensure that logistics companies are not left stranded, without the skilled workforce required to keep Britain’s trade moving nationwide, and across borders to other nations.”

“These EU workers are crucial to the success of the UK’s logistics industry – and thus to the success of the nation’s economy as a whole. With insufficient homegrown workers currently available, the Government needs to give careful consideration to how vacancies could be filled in the short and long term, to ensure that Britain keeps on trading, both domestically and internationally.”

According to the Government’s proposal, workers who have been living continuously in the UK for five years will be able to apply to stay in the country indefinitely through “settled status”. However, clarification is still needed for the “cut off” date for arrivals to the country who have not been resident for five years, and this lack of information could have a significant impact on British business’ ability to trade efficiently in the coming months and years.

“Whenever the new legislation is introduced, it is imperative that the Government makes the application process for those wishing to work in the UK as free from red tape as possible,” continues Bastidon. “The logistics industry needs and deserves to employ the very best candidates while it trains up the next generation of employees, and it will need Government support to ensure that the country’s trading routes do not grind to a halt when the changes are made. The Government must ensure that its post-Brexit immigration policy takes into account the needs of crucial industries such as logistics, and provide as much clarity as possible, as early as it is feasible, to allow industry to plan ahead and adapt. This advanced notice is vital to ensure that British business can keep moving, both in the UK and overseas.”

beehive drones

Amazon beehive delivery drones!

Amazon have filed for a patent for multi level fulfilment centres that would accommodate the take off and landing of drones in dense urban settings.

This would allow them to move away from single story warehouses that temporality store packages before they are shipped to the customer. They are also normally situated outside urban areas and are not convenient for deliveries to majorly populated cities. The beehive shape of the centres means that drones can move to a higher location, which saves the drone power because it takes energy to ascend to cruising altitude, according to the patent. The high takeoff platform will also take the constant “whirring” sound of drones away from street level, somewhat reducing noise pollution for pedestrians, the patent said.

The company would stock the beehives’ shelves the old-fashioned way — that is, by arranging freight delivery via trucks, rail or ships. Then, human personnel and robotic devices would unload and then later package orders, according to Amazon. Customers could also collect their package from the centre if they preferred. After an order is packaged, an “internal transport robot” — which could be a robot, elevator, conveyer belt or some sort of lifting mechanism. The towers could accept shipments from traditional trucks — or even boats if located close enough to a body of water, the application states.

Obviously this is only a patent, and Amazon are not about to start building their outlandish ideas, but it shows that they are trying to move with the times and come up with innovative ideas that benefit the customer. It remains to be seen whether people will be happy to live near enormous beehive domes with drones constantly coming in and out, noise pollution alone could be a massive issue, but Amazon seem as keen as ever to monopolise the delivery market in as many ways as possible.


Delivery firms and increasing traffic congestion

The rise in e-commerce and internet ordering has meant that for retailers and their customers, getting their deliveries to their home or place of work has never been easier. One click of a button and you can chose from same day or next day delivery, or even specify a day. Retailers are falling over themselves to deliver to you as quickly as possible, and this in turn means that some of the more traditional courier services will find it harder and harder to keep up with demand.

Delivery of an item has always been the most costly part of the process for retailers, and in an age where pollution and carbon footprint are of paramount importance, companies are going to need to look at new ways to get their parcel to its destination on time.

Pollution caused by vehicles, the number of cars and lorries on the road, and the strain it puts onto our infrastructure is something that is only going to get worse as time goes on. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, is for example hoping to cut 3 million car journeys a day into the city, with a potential pay per mile pricing. Congested roads lead to delays and cause excessive pollution. Southampton itself s well known as a city that has poor air quality, and has been named as one of the 40 places across the UK as breaching safely levels by the World Health Organisation.

As we shall see next week in our news article, Amazon have patented a new era of what look like Beehives in urban areas, with the ability to fly drones. The cost of a drone delivery however is expected to be very high, and may not be a long term economic ideal. Noise pollution and the aesthetics of the drone will also be called into question.

So, for those delivery vehicles that still rely on roads and wheels, what will become of them? Well, firstly they must become as carbon neutral as possible to heavily reduce the carbon footprint. There is always the possibility that vehicles will become driverless and operated remotely. Technology is always evolving but the obvious differences will be gradual.

There is no substitution for the personal touch and the knowledge that small, well run companies are very efficient and therefore are reducing their omissions as much as possible. Here at Think we are always trying to be as carbon neutral as possible and operate in the best possible way to ensure that our deliveries are as well organised as possible. We look forward to the changes that the digital age can bring, but will always enjoy delivering to our customers with the personal touch!

A delivery drone that could carry a car!

Chinese retailer plan to launch a fleet of heavy lifting drones that can carry items weighing the equivalent of a small car across cities to its 235 million customers.

It began trials back in November 2016 and will primarily be used to carry goods to customers living in remote regions. is the Amazon of China, and with so many delivery networks it sees drones as the next big step. With 235 million regular customers, they need to adapt.

The move has frustrated Amazon, with boss Jeff Bezos frustrated that the Federal Aviation Administration can’t decide how to regulate the airways and taking 10 months to clear the first flights of its experimental drone. By that time, the applications approval was useless because the company had already built bigger and better drones. As a result, Amazon has now shifted its drone development facilities to Canada and the UK, and progress has been somewhat slower than its Chinese rivals.

However, instead of the drone delivering directly to customers’ doorsteps, a local delivery person retrieves the cargo from the drone, which may carry between eight and 15 packages that were ordered by people in the village. The delivery person then brings the packages to people’s doors. Amazon, on the other hand, has shown how it plans to use drones to deliver directly to people’s houses, as opposed to grouping local shipments like JD.

With technology expanding at a large rate, drones may be a new interesting concept, but at the moment they are just that. So called ‘old fashioned’ shipping methods will continue on as they always have, and companies will look for innovative and price effective ways of making sure that their customers still use people rather than just technology.

Tesco trial a one hour delivery service

In a move to directly challenge Amazon, Tesco are unveiling its new one hour delivery service.

A pilot of the scheme in Zones 1 and 2 in London will use courier service Quiqup and will offer a one hour slot for up to 20 items from store. Items included are fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and frozen products as well as staples such as toiletries, nappies and bread.

Amazon launched the same service in London 2 years ago, and since its successful trial Amazon Prime has been rolled out to almost a 3rd of the UK.

Should the trial prove successful the app based service could be implemented nationally, and with Tesco recently trademarking Tesco Now, it looks like it is firmly in their sights.

One hour services are becoming much more popular as the UK shuns the highstreet and turns to the convenience of ordering from home. Larger companies are having to move with the times to stay competitive in the changing market – and quick and efficient deliveries are a large part of that.

British lung foundation

Why donating to charity is an important part of what we do

Recent charity donations from Think Worldwide include £100 each to the British Lung Foundation, Abby’s Heroes and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Charity donations are very close to Lloyd at Think Worldwide’s heart, because in December 2012 his youngest son was diagnosed with Leukaemia. As a result of the fantastic care that he and his family received, Lloyd has always pledged to help charities whenever he and the business can…..

The British Lung Foundation are the only UK charity looking after the nation’s lungs. With your support, we’ll make sure that one day everyone breathes clean air with healthy lungs. They been researching lung conditions for 30 years.Today, it remains at the heart of what they do. Their aim is always to improve care – and to prevent, treat and cure lung diseases. Please visit the British Lung foundation website for information or to make a donation.

Abby’s Heroes offer help and support children and their families during and after their diagnosis of cancer, including bereaved families, who come under the care of the Piam Brown Ward in Southampton. As a charity they offer practical and financial help and support and with the important family fun time and memory making. Please visit Abby’s Just Giving page for more information or to make a donation.

Abby’s Heroes was set up when Abby became a patient on the ward in May 2013. Abby very sadly died on 29th May 2016. She was a bright, sparkly, generous soul, much loved by her family and all those who were lucky enough to have met her. Her family decided to continue her memory, in her spirit, be a hero, make a difference and do something for someone else. No matter how small, or large, any donation is welcomed with love and appreciation.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is the only UK-wide charity dedicated to fighting for a life unlimited by cystic fibrosis (CF) for everyone affected by the condition. Their mission to create a world where being born with CF no longer means a life-long struggle, when everyone living with the condition will be able to look forward to a long, healthy life. Please visit their page here .

Yearly collections are also running for Wessex Cancer Trust, Make A Wish Foundation and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

denied party screening

Information on denied party screening

A denied party is an individual or Organisation that is subject to sanctions imposed by the United Nations, European Union, United States or another relevant authority. It is strictly prohibited to transport goods or documents on behalf of or directly to these individuals or organisations.

Lists are created and compiled by government authorities and agencies to either beware or refrain from interacting with those individuals or entities on the lists. These lists can then be compared to internal delivery lists to ensure that there is no cross over.

If a match is found, further information may need to be provided. It could be a case of an address/shipper/receiver is similar to one on the watch list. Making sure that names and addresses are correctly filled out, receiver details are correct, and as much information is provided at the time as possible with regards to the delivery should minimise delays. Rescreening can be done daily, and with government watch lists changing regularly, it is important for us to keep on top of.

Compliance in this area is very important. It has only just recently come into effect, and means that we are working hard to ensure that we can deal with the changes quickly and efficiently.

Why Customer Care is so important

Here at Think Worldwide our customer service is of paramount importance. Speaking to us on the phone or via email is often the only contact our customers have with us – and our customer services department is dedicated to making sure that your experience is as seamless as possible.

What makes us different to other larger companies?

We have our own in house customer care team, not a large call centre off site where you never get to speak to the same person twice! We have a small dedicated team who are very close to our customers and a local database which means we are familiar with the area. We are not a company who treats customers as just another number.

We are a small company, but feel that our level of customer service can set us apart from other larger companies who are not able to offer the personal touch. Extra effort into customer service can give a strong competitive advantage.

Repeat business is of course important to us, and we hope that once you have used us, you will never go elsewhere. We hope to look after you and guide you through the process, knowing that we are on hand whenever you have a question or query.

What value do we bring?

Understanding our customers needs and requirements is at the heart of our business, and because we have the resources to cater to all customers as individuals, we offer added value over the larger companies who don’t know their customers on a personal level.

We run our own fleet of vehicles, so we are always able to track our deliveries, and can get into contact with our drivers if any issues arrive. They are well known and trusted to us, and are not just part of a larger organisation or a company who use other carriers to distribute the goods. All sides of the operation are run through us.

Larger companies are not as efficient at making changes should the need arise, and are often hampered by their size making change difficult and slow. We are a fast paced company who are not afraid to try new ventures and ideas because we have the time and resources. We will find innovative and new ways to make sure that your parcel reaches where it needs to if needs be.

Being familiar to our customers and knowing them individually is an advantage that we can bring. We can be much closer to our customers – both in being able to meet with you more frequently should the need arise, and develop a more personal relationship.

Larger companies run the risk of offering too much customer service. Automated phone calls and scripted answers mean that its difficult to get to the heart of such a company. High tech customer service has taken over actually talking to someone.

Should you use a small company?

A resounding yes from us! Great things come in small packages!


Why use our express service?

We at Think Worldwide pride ourselves in dealing with clients who call with what they may regard as a difficult service. The chances are that we have already experienced your request and can easily find a service to accommodate your needs.

Sometimes, making sure your package arrives on time is a last minute thought. We offer an express service, to make sure that whatever you are delivering always arrives when it should.

No consignment is too small or large for our dedicated delivery services. Our customer representatives will help you through the process and advise you on the most efficient and cost effective delivery service to suit your requirements, whether it is just a small envelope or a 24 tonne trailer load, we will ensure that your goods are taken care of from start to finish.

We offer an express same delivery service with dedicated vehicles throughout Europe. We can collect within 60 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether its a document, parcel or pallet – we can take it for you.

Why not contact us today to see how we can help you?

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