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Running Out of Road: Global Transport Systems Supply Chains on Brink of ‘Collapse’, Warns Industry Body

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/05/2022 - 8:24pm in



The warning comes as diesel prices have shot up – leading to dramatic losses in profits for transport operators, reports Nafeez Ahmed


Rocketing energy prices have placed global road transport networks, and with them complex supply chains involving key goods and services, on the brink of “collapse” – according to the International Road Transport Union, which represents the entire road transportation industry worldwide.

The warning comes as diesel prices have shot up by 63% since last January, leading to dramatic losses in profits for transport operators that are jeopardising their business operations.

According to Radu Dinescu, president of the IRU, “road transport operators are facing a cash flow crunch, especially the 90% who are small and medium-sized firms".

"Volatility in diesel prices and inflexible commercial terms mean they have little room for manoeuvre and bankruptcies are climbing," he said. "This will damage road transport network capacity and efficiency, impacting supply chains, inflation and the broader economy. We need to act now.”

With escalating fuel prices driving inflation through the global economy, the IRU has said that the devastating impact on transport systems could lead to supply chain blockages as smaller operators risk going bankrupt. This would lead transport and logistics networks to breakdown. It would also increase the risk of operators having fewer funds available to continue investing in decarbonisation.

The Geneva-based IRU represents more than 3.5 million road transport companies operating mobility and logistics services worldwide. Earlier this month, its general assembly issued a 17-point resolution outlining measures that governments should take to avoid disaster.

The resolution calls on governments to release strategic oil and gas reserves; defer taxes and repayments for private loans and leases; eliminate energy taxes and excise duties for renewable components of fleets; establish rescue funds for road transport operators; diversify and upscale renewable energy production to decarbonise existing fleets; reduce the financial burden of decarbonisation on operators; invest in more collective passenger transport; and prioritise renewable energy subsidies for commercial road transport.

The consistent theme of the proposed measures is that, unless governments move rapidly to support existing logistics and supply chain infrastructure, it is at risk of disassembling.

The resolution specifically warns that the global road transport industry faces the prospect of bankruptcy if current energy price volatility continues.

“Shops and supply chains are announcing price increases and constraints on product availability due to supply chain issues stemming from a road transport industry struggling to meet growing demand and stay solvent,” says the IRU resolution.

The weak links in the chain, it adds, come particularly from “small and medium-sized firms” who are “forced to stop serving their clients and will not be able to make the necessary investments needed to comply with more pressure from decarbonisation policies”.


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What this suggests is that, while authorities have attempted to use half-baked market pricing mechanisms to push through decarbonisation, this approach isn’t working because the market remains fundamentally distorted in favour of carbon-intensive incumbent industries.

Trillion-dollar fossil fuel subsidies are still the order of the day, while limited measures such as congestion charging and other such laws tend to simply penalise drivers and citizens without providing appropriate financial support where needed to scale up key technologies.

If transport systems and supply chains begin to fail, this will have further knock-on effects on already astronomical price hikes for energy, food and other basic commodities.

Byline Times has previously reported that the financial sector is already in the midst of internal planning for outbreaks of civil unrest in Western homelands. The risk of social breakdown will be even higher if governments fail to address the mounting financial pressures facing road transport operators.




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Travel pricing

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/04/2022 - 12:22pm in

Andy Burnham pointed to this bizarre working of the travel ‘market’: Meanwhile for the next month there is the equally bizarre ‘Great British Rail Sale’, giving half-price off peak tickets. In so doing government recognises that price is an important factor in promoting rail travel, yet has spent the last dozen years relentlessly pushing up... Read more

Buses back – here and there

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 06/04/2022 - 7:55am in

An interesting Guardian article from yesterday highlights the fact that more than a quarter of bus routes outside London have been axed since 2012. The Thatcherite scheme to privatise buses in order to improve services through competition has manifestly failed. It has instead led to a decline in bus travel and the creation of large... Read more

A deficit of bus drivers..

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 22/03/2022 - 2:00am in

Interestingly, with the local elections coming up, it is remarkable how many people now seem to be blaming local government for the increasingly bad local bus service. People seem immured in the past and unaware that most services outside London have long been ‘commercial’, and those that are not have been continually cut by central... Read more

Electric train freight advance (we hope)…

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 19/03/2022 - 9:30am in


Society, Transport

In my occasional forays into green transport, regular readers will know that, for freight, I consider electric rail the only way to go – so I was intrigued to discover this interesting article showing a practical idea to achieve an electric shunting capability in local rail freight sidings: Previously I’d always considered that a separate... Read more

We need to have a government that considers itself a shareholder in society

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/02/2022 - 6:34pm in

Belatedly, I have noticed that even the Evening Standard is getting fed up with government by chaos. They opine: Like the NHS, the country’s welfare system is operating with absolutely no slack — we are keeping a large number of people on incomes so low they can barely survive from day to day. One of... Read more

Perrotet To Compensate All Gambling Premises Affected By Train Disruption

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 22/02/2022 - 8:12am in

NSW Premier (for now) Dominic Perrotet has apologised to all gambling venues in NSW that were affected by yesterday’s train disruption and promised them all compensation for any losses.

”To all the pokies operators, keno runners, TAB’s and cock ring runners that were affected by yesterday’s disruptions I hereby apologise and promise to make it up to you,” said the Premier. ”Compensation packages will be arranged and we will look at other options to make NSW gamble again.”

”For the immediate future all welfare recipients will be paid in gold coins and they will need to pick them up from their nearest RSL.”

When asked why he was so quick to apologise to the gambling operators as opposed to all other NSW residents affected by the train disruptions the Premier said: ”You’re right, to all real estate agents who may have had to delay open houses yesterday I also apologise.”

”As well I’d like to say sorry to all those high income earners whose cleaners or gardeners were late yesterday.”

”To those affected I want you to know that the NSW Government is here for you, as long as you earn enough to make it worth our while.”

Mark Williamson


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How the TfL Funding Crisis Will Leave Disabled People Stranded

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/02/2022 - 11:27pm in

How the TfL Funding Crisis Will Leave Disabled People Stranded

As Government funding for London’s transport network dries up, so do promised improvements to access – with just 33% of the Underground step-free


As a wheelchair user, IT consultant Jeff Harvey relies on using lifts to access the Underground.

“I always have to plan alternate routes depending on anytime there’s a lift in my journey,” he said. Unexpected lift closures can add an hour on to his travel time.

Currently, 90 tube stations on London’s Underground network are step-free – equating to just 33% – meaning that, when lifts are unavailable, people unable to use steps must find an alternative route or go to another accessible station by taxi at the cost of Transport for London (TfL).

In September, an unreported lift closure at Liverpool Street Station delayed Harvey by an hour on his way home to Walthamstow after visiting Liverpool. “If they’d updated this information, I’d have seen the lift status and known to get off at Moorgate which is now step-free and rolled to Liverpool Street in 10 minutes,” he wrote in a Twitter thread relaying the occasion. 

TfL recorded 10 lift breakdowns at Liverpool Street Station between January and November 2021. Lifts in 44 stations across the London Underground network broke down 10 or more times during those 11 months, with lifts in five stations breaking down more than 50 times.

In total, TfL recorded 1,347 lift breakdowns across 85 Underground stations from January to 12 November 2021.

In 2016, the Mayor of London promised £200 million to make 40% of the tube network step-free by 2022. But, following a slump in numbers using the Underground during the Coronavirus pandemic, TfL is said to be facing a funding gap up of to £1.7 billion over the next financial year and is set to axe step-free upgrades if additional funding is not secured. 

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Step-free improvements in at least three tube stations have already been paused owing to lack of funds. During Mayor’s Question Time last February, Sadiq Khan said that work to make Burnt Oak, Northolt and Hanger Lane stations step-free had been “paused pending further discussions with the Government on the funding support TfL needs following the impact of Coronavirus on its finances”.

A Department for Transport funding package worth more than £1 billion is due to run out this week, following a six-week extension to the terms in December, when Khan warned that TfL’s financial situation could lead to closing a tube line and slashing 100 bus routes. 

A Department for Transport spokesperson told Byline Times that the Government has “repeatedly demonstrated its unwavering commitment to supporting London’s transport network” with more than £4 billion in emergency funding.

“We continue to discuss further funding requirements with TfL and the Mayor, and any future support provided will continue to focus on moving TfL back onto a more financially sustainable footing, in a way that provides value for money and is fair to taxpayers across the country,” they added.

TfL confirmed that, if sufficient long-term funding is not secured, “investment in further improving step-free access at stations would be impacted”.

A spokesperson told Byline Times: “This would likely mean that no step-free access schemes, other than those which are currently in construction, would be completed – unless they were funded by third parties.”

Even before proposed cuts, TfL’s accessibility improvements miss the mark.

Step-free improvements “don’t always create level access between the platform and the train”, according to the TfL website, meaning that a manual ramp must be positioned to allow wheelchair users to board trains. 

“We’ve got to get the Government to legislate for what’s called ‘level boarding’,” said Ian Cook, who campaigns for step-free access in all stations across the country. “They’re building stations at the moment and they’re saying they’re step free stations – they are to the platform, but not the platform to the train.”

Organising ramps creates a mental strain on passengers with disabilities. Cook said it is “humiliating” for disabled people to not be able to get off trains. 

“A lot of people find it really discouraging, a real mental stress, that they have to fight all the time,” added leading disability campaigner Alan Benson.

People with disabilities also still face issues traveling by bus, despite all London buses having low-floors, access ramps and a dedicated wheelchair space.

“Every time I get to a stop to use the bus, my stress levels go up because I don’t know if the bus coming is going to have someone in the space already,” said Jeff Harvey. 

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He told Byline Times that drivers often fail to ask non-disabled people to vacate the dedicated wheelchair space or that people can be unwilling to move their luggage or prams from the space.

Slashing bus routes could be detrimental, added Benson.

“If there are fewer buses, the buses are fuller so the chances are I’m not going to be able to get on,” he said. “The implications of these cuts are much bigger than [step-free] access. It’s also affecting the little things. Access is a lot about publishing the right information.”

But a TfL briefing paper from November suggests that data and technology improvements, including upgrades to planning step-free journeys, could be slashed.

The transport network already fails to provide all information passengers with disabilities find useful. The website Up Down London, which tracks lift closures at tube stations, was created by disability activists who wanted to collate live information on TfL lift closures in one accessible place. 

In the 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy, the Government promised to create a transport system that offers equal access for disabled passengers by 2030. The national Disability Strategy published last July reasserted its commitment to improve accessibility on transport across the nation.

“All these strategies, all these targets, disabled people are quite exhausted by them,” Alan Benson told Byline Times. He wants to see action that backs up Government strategy. 

But in London, the question remains as to how TfL will fund this action. 

“[It] would make a huge difference in my life,” said Jeff Harvey. “That funding cut… has me worried.”




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The queues to get to Dover Port continue

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 26/01/2022 - 10:04am in

These queues are mirrored in Calais and are simply increasing UK costs and worsening UK inflation. What was denigrated as ‘Project fear’ is now revealed as just simply the truth.... Read more

On 19th Jan there were 17km of lorry queues to Dover..

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 21/01/2022 - 9:29pm in

Apparently the motorway cameras have been turned off so that no pesky journalists can lift the pictures. Live information on crossings is available here which still (at the time of writing) shows an 11 hour wait at the Ashford, Waterbrook inland clearance centre. I seem to have forgotten the supposed benefits of doing all this... Read more