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  July 1st, 2016 | Written by

UK Forwarders: Confront, Don’t Duck Decision On Heathrow Expansion

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  • Robert Keen, BIFA director general: “We are now entering a period of great uncertainty on the political front.”
  • Study by UK Airports Commission found that Heathrow expansion plan would deliver $300 billion of economic growth.
  • Robert Keen, BIFA director general: “The UK's freight forwarding counting on the government.”

The trade association that represents the UK’s freight forwarding and logistics businesses is concerned that last week’s news that the UK will leave the EU and that David Cameron will resign as Prime Minister will lead to further procrastination over the expansion of UK aviation capacity.

“In December last year, BIFA voiced the dismay of its 1,500 member companies when the government announced that it would be deferring its final decision on expanding UK airport capacity until the summer of 2016,” said Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association (BIFA). “With last week’s developments, we are now entering a period of great uncertainty on the political front, and BIFA members are worried that will result in big decisions being postponed, or abandoned completely.”

In his resignation statement, David Cameron said he had always believed that big decisions had to be confronted, not ducked, Keen noted. “He should make good on that sentiment,” Keen added, “by announcing forthwith that there will be no further delay and the government will move forward with the recommendations made by the Airports Commission by building more capacity at Heathrow airport.”

That study by the Airports Commission, a body set up by the British prime minister, found that

Heathrow’s expansion plan would deliver over $300 billion of economic growth, and up to 180,000 new jobs across the UK.

Heathrow has been called Britain’s biggest port, as it handles over a quarter of all British exports by value. Many high-value, fragile, and perishable products, as well as those requiring just-in-time delivery, move through Heathrow.

“The UK’s freight forwarding community, which is the engine of Britain’s international trade, is counting on the government to show that we are a confident, outward-looking trading nation, still capable of taking bold decisions that have a direct positive effect on the UK economy, its international connectivity and reputation.”