The inaugural Nestrans Freight Forum, which took place this week in Aberdeen, was voted a tremendous success by those attending, with the platform being utilised to mark the official launch of the Nestrans Freight Action Plan (FAP), one of the major outcomes of the Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) which was approved by ministers in July 2008.
Nestrans Vice Chairman Eddie Anderson from hauliers A.R.R. Craib, who chaired the half-day forum attended by delegates from both the public and private sector, believes Nestrans is in a unique position of being ideally positioned to act as the interface for the many strategic challenges facing the freight industry at this time. “It’s great to see some joined up thinking, with the private and public sectors working together for the common good. To have an action plan to work from is a massive but logical step forward and, because all key players have contributed to the formulating of the plan, what is actually contained is not simply a pipedream but something that is eminently achievable. This is a plan that will be a continually changing process moving forward that is relevant to the local economy and the freight industry and one that is driven by the local agenda.”
Included in the forum were presentations from AECOM Associate Director Paul Finch, who gave an overview of the FAP, Philip Smart from Aberdeenshire Council, who outlined the StratMoS (Strategic Demonstration Project for Motorways of the Sea) vision and Nestrans Transport Strategy manager Rab Dickson, who updated the thirty delegates on key initiatives within the region including the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), plans for Haudagain roundabout and the proposed third Don crossing.
Breakout groups discussed a range of challenges facing the freight industry, including emission levels, roadside communication and working with similar bodies in other regions and the furthest travelled delegate, Dr. Monica Fundingsland Tetlow from Rogaland County Council in Norway, believes Aberdeen City and Shire is leading the way in terms of meeting the needs of all those involved in the industry. “The breadth of representation is very impressive indeed and includes exactly the kind of stakeholders who can actually influence things. Throughout Europe, the North east of Scotland is seen as an area of best practice in terms of how it meets the challenges of the freight industry and this forum only reaffirms why this is the case. This is an initiative I would like to see replicated back home in Norway.”
Among those present at the forum were senior personnel from The Scottish Government, Scottish Council for Development and industry, Road Haulage Association, Aberdeen Harbour Board and Grampian Police and Eddie Anderson believes the initiative will be repeated. “All the feedback has been very positive and it has been a really worthwhile exercise that I am certain Nestrans will be keen to see become a regular date on the calendar.”