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Logistics UK call for measures to support industry decarbonising fleet operations

In their 2023 Electric Vehicle Report, Logistics UK, the trade association for the UK freight industry, have called for more support in moving the industry towards full decarbonisation. 

The report is based on responses from 32 Logistics UK member organisations, between December 2022 and January 2023. These members included companies such as DHL Express, the Royal Mail and Tesco Distribution.

white and brown rv trailer

It is four years since the last such report, when the respondents were very much at the start of their decarbonisation journey, so most of them are now speaking from a position of experience. One such being Justin Laney from the John Lewis Partnership who said: ‘You have to accept you will need to make some operational changes. Minimise the compromises in your business and look for the gains.’

The report highlights four area in which it is felt greater support is needed:

Power supply: A fair and equitable approach for funding electricity connections with an electricity generation roadmap to enable the expansion of depot charging for EVs, transparency on available grid capacity, sufficient supply margin and common service agreements amongst Distribution Network Operators, plus regularly reviewed energy support to manage shocks and industry engagement to unlock energy generation investment. 

EV public chargepoint network: An EV public chargepoint network that is fully accessible to large electric vans now and electric trucks in the future, supported by an EV charging infrastructure roadmap with clear milestones to drive an accelerated uplift in suitable public charging infrastructure with high reliability standards.

Fiscal support:  Embed certainty for fiscal support aimed at encouraging logistics operators to decarbonise their operations, including for grants, and amend the qualifying criteria for the 100% annual investment allowance for vehicles acquired via leasing or hiring and clarify the usage of the allowance to include investments in increasing electricity supply to commercial vehicle premises.

Regulations: Fundamental reform of regulatory vehicle weight thresholds, driver training and vehicle inspection regimes to avoid regulatory conflict to include redefining the current derogation for category B drivers to tow a trailer on an alternatively fuelled vehicle, aligning it with the 2030/2035 phase-out dates whilst maintaining the existing definition of eligible low carbon fuels (LCFs).

David Wells, chief executive of Logistics UK said: ‘The logistics sector is fully aware of its responsibilities to decarbonise and is keen to do so. However, with respondents reporting wide ranging costs to upgrade their energy supplies to depots – between £100,000 and over £1 million – a lack of meaningful scrappage schemes, acquisition costs on the rise and volatile energy prices, it is an uphill battle that cannot continue without increased support from Government.’

Only last month The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders used the opening day of the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham to highlight the problems faced by the industry in switching to zero emissions by the target date of 2035.

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