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Heathrow to launch cargo-sharing web portal

22 March 2016

Heathrow Airport has announced plans to create an online portal to allow airlines to share excess capacity, to cut freight loads and emissions.

The London airport published its Blueprint to Reduce Emissions last week, which outlines 10 of the its environmentally-friendly objectives to be achieved within the year. Sustainability is an important issue for Heathrow’s operations because it handles 1.5m tonnes of cargo a year, it said.

The web portal, which is one of the 10 goals, will exchange information between its members about any excess capacity on their vehicles. If a member has spare capacity then operators will be able to negotiate a relevant price.

The portal, along with measures such as increased monitoring of local freight vehicles, an off-airport distribution centre and stricter rules on vehicle licensing, will ensure the number of freight vehicles will be maintained at similar levels to today and encourage the use of lowest emission freight vehicles, Heathrow said.

A further objective outlined in the blueprint is for the airport to invest £16.2m in equipment and introducing “eco-driving training” for drivers, which is also expected to reduce freight emissions.

Nick Platts, head of cargo at Heathrow, said: “Operating a cleaner, leaner and more efficient freight operation is an essential part of delivering on our ambition to be the best airport in Europe for cargo.”

“This WebPortal can deliver for all. Our cargo partners can reduce their costs, our local communities will experience less congestion and improved air quality, and Heathrow will build on its strength as an airport of choice for cargo,” he added.

Meanwhile, the airport has also announced four partners who will work with it to deliver its proposed third runway expansion.

Arup, CH2M, Mace Group and Turner & Townsend were the four engineering consulting companies selected.

In July last year, the Independent Airports Commission said that Heathrow’s expansion should be conducted within environmental limits. The partners will begin the expansion process pending final approval from the government, Heathrow said.

Ian Ballentine, procurement director at Heathrow, said: “I’m delighted that our client partners are now on board and I look forward to working with them to give the UK a truly world-class, sustainable hub airport.  This privately financed, £16bn project will benefit the whole UK as we work to widen the supply-chain right across the nation."

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