It is expected that 20 million trips will be made by travelers within London as spectators from around the world converge on the city to attend events at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. While the Olympics are expected to bring in billions of pounds worth of trade and commerce to the UK, the influx of visitors to London will place extraordinary pressure on local infrastructure, air and ground transport. Those logistics service providers who, in the midst of the financial crisis were already preparing for the recovery, now stand to bring home the gold. CargoWise Business Development Executive - Europe, Keith Plummer emphasizes the importance of a high quality logistics software solution when faced with such challenging conditions.
Many Logistics companies are predicting that the extra traffic restrictions across the Olympic Route Network (ORN), including closed side roads, banned turns, suspended parking, diverted buses and changed traffic signals, will result in increased congestion and delays. Air traffic is also predicted to worsen under temporary changes to airspace recently published by the Civil Aviation Authority that will be implemented for the summer of 2012. While this will inevitably be a testing period for all London’s logistics service providers, some are better prepared than others.
Throughout Greater London, roads will be heavily impacted as a result of high demand and road closures around the ORN and Paralympic Route Network which will be temporarily closed to traffic at various stages. Road Transport Operators who have invested in the right IT systems will be in a position to proactively manage these pressures. Capabilities for smart scheduling, optimized delivery schedules, integrated truck-to-base communication and on-line information coupled with reporting to the customer will be crucial.
Aviation experts are predicting air traffic over London to peak on 13th August, with a significant contribution to the increased traffic coming from executive and business flights. There will be major airspace restrictions centered on London and the Olympic Park from 14 July to 15 August 2012 followed by a narrower set of airspace restrictions for the London 2012 Paralympic Games from 16 August to 12 September 2012. The government has indicated that airspace restrictions will also be placed around Games venues outside London. Smooth operations in such circumstances demand an integrated management system, especially for bookings. Such a system should provide access to airline schedules, up-to-date global flight enquiries and optimization for all major cargo and passenger airline carriers using online data provided by schedule data and optimization partners.
Industry experts agree, however, that no study has fully addressed every possible operational problem that could hit British airports and we will only know if the road transport system is going to work once it is in action.
Despite these uncertainties, Games-related disruptions represent a challenging but manageable task. Whatever the mode of transport, there is a fundamental requirement to be able to manage and monitor work flow through a single application.
Logistics operators who have implemented such systems will enjoy the capability to conduct close monitoring of freight
movements through peak times, ensure correct billing to cover extra costs incurred during the congestion period and accurate job reporting, with milestones agreed and visible to the customer. With this information advantage of the location and situation of every shipment, they will be better able to meet shipping deadlines regardless of athletics-related disruptions on the roads or the occupation of landing slots by business jets. This puts them in an envious position from which to reap the benefits of the abundance of work the Games will generate while ensuring continuity of routine operations leaving a post-games contact list of satisfied customers.
The Freight Industry faces a major challenge this summer and it will be asked to deliver much more in far less time. But, with proper controls in place, the Olympics can be a beneficial, profitable event, and not the obstruction and hindrance to business that many are predicting.
Keith Plummer is Business Development Executive Europe for CargoWise®
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