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Is a trans-Pennine tunnel really a viable option? How can capacity challenges across major freight routes such as the M62 corridor be tackled? What will make large plcs pick cities in northern England to base their warehousing and logistics operations?

These topics and more will be debated at the Freight in the City Spring Summit: Driving Growth in the North on 3 March at Manchester Central (formerly G-Mex).

Following a successful expo held in London last October, which focused on how to deliver urban freight in a clean, safe and efficient operation, the Manchester event will explore how these core themes apply to northern cities.

Event manager Laura Hailstone said: “While sustainable urban freight will continue to be the over-arching theme of the Freight in the City Spring Summit, we recognise that cities such as Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield have different priorities and challenges compared with London and the South East, which is why we wanted to take the debate north.”

The freight sector plays a vital role to the northern economy and is key to the success of the government’s plan to create a northern powerhouse.

Transport for the North (TfN) is in the final stages of drafting a freight strategy to submit to chancellor George Osborne this spring, which aims to set out the key areas of investment the logistics sector needs to prosper and continue to expand.


But what will this expansion look like and what opportunities will investment in the region bring? Co-author of the forthcoming TfN freight and logistics strategy report, Chris Rowland, MD at MDS Transmodal, will explain this during his presentation on the economic foresight of opportunities in the north.

Gareth Morgan, business development manager at Sheffield City Region (pictured right), will explain how an initiative called Logistics Hub UK is helping to establish the area as an attractive multi-modal logistics base for major UK and international plcs.

Greater Manchester has its own vision for developing and enhancing the logistics sector across its 10 borough councils. A freight strategy is due to be launched this spring that will combine a package of measures to make freight movements cleaner, safer and smarter across the region.

Leading the new plans is Helen Smith, head of logistics and environment at Transport for Greater Manchester. She will be talking to delegates about how the new strategy will aim to balance the needs of freight operators while tackling issues such as air quality, congestion and cyclist safety.

Urban consolidation centres may become more commonplace in future, but ensuring the model is economical and gets buy-in from suppliers and receivers of goods is essential.


Bruce Carnaby, urban freight development manager at Clipper Logistics (pictured left), oversees a consolidation scheme at Newcastle University and in London’s Regent Street.

He will be explaining how the university’s consolidation scheme model was designed and developed to have the potential for it to be rolled out and adopted at other public sector bodies or small towns.

Following a morning of seminars, and the opportunity to network over lunch, there will be a series of workshop sessions to choose from, such as Connectivity and Delivery, and Servicing Plans.

There will also be a selection of the latest urban vehicles displayed as well as a table-top exhibition from compliance and equipment companies.

■ A list of firms signed up and the full programme are available online. To register to take part in the free summit, go to the Freight in the City website.