The Retail Travelution conference on 23 January 2018 highlighted some key themes.
Our transport network, particularly in London, is becoming more congested. 89% of all freight deliveries are by road when there is a rail freight network extending to the heart of the city plus around 70 privately-owned port terminals along the Thames from Teddington to the coast. It's clear that retail (and other) freight needs to be moved from the roads, for a variety of reasons, but this is not something that one body can do alone. There needs to be co-operation between TfL and the London boroughs, the Port of London Authority and other bodies (local and national), working with the private sector. The big question is how to make this happen. Singapore for instance has strict central control where public transport is supported but private vehicles penalised. Would such a model work in the UK? Probably not as no central body has overall control – but maybe we need a more holistic view.
Overall it was a very thought-provoking event showing just what challenges need to be overcome to get goods (and people) moving freely around an increasingly congested city.