Seminars stir interest in community solution to Heathrow truck congestion
Around 100 representatives of the UK airfreight community attended the first two seminars on the subject of a potential community-led solution to Heathrow’s truck congestion problems.
The seminars, organised by not-for-profit representative body CCS-UK User Group, discussed the issues faced by forwarders, airfreight hauliers and handling agents, when cargo is delivered to or collected from the airport’s ageing cargo terminal.
Speakers and delegates talked of losing trucks and drivers for several hours in long queues at peak times, while handling agents pointed out the difficulty of scheduling manpower and resources to handle visiting trucks, in the abesnce of any warning of their impending arrival.
CCS-UK User Group presented its AIS (Advance Information System) module as a potential solution to the problem.
Delegates were shown how the simple AIS online truck booking process provides handlers with advance notice of trucks’ arrival, together with their ETA. The live system demonstration also showed how the handler receives all shipment information digitally in advance so that, on arrival of the cargo, the reception process is considerably shortened.
The audiences learned that, once a record has been created in AIS, the system triggers regular automatic updates on the status of handling of the vehicle, enabling the forwarder or freight agent to plan subsequent deliveries with greater accuracy.
The AIS concept received a very positive response from the audiences, with a major carrier and leading handling agents among some fifty organisations expressing interest in deploying the system.
AIS is a free of charge add-on to the CCS-UK system. It can be accessed via a web portal or, for more frequent users, through their existing software systems via a simple integration with the AIS module; this eliminates re-keying of data.
AIS is already in full daily use with a cross-section of handling agents, forwarders and hauliers using Heathrow, and is saving time and money for all parties.
Representatives of all sectors spoke of their positive experiences to date, and companies which have so far used the portal version announced that they are now planning to move to the fully-integrated version.
Says CCS-UK User Group Chairman Steve Parker: “We were delighted with the demand for places at the seminars, and had to hold over a number of applications for places for future seminar dates. We were also very gratified with the active interest displayed by those who attended. We are confident that we have reached a turning point in the uptake of AIS.
“AIS is highly-intuitive, so users require minimal training. The payback for making a small change to working methods is already considerable and, as more and more companies start to use AIS, the benefits to the community as a whole will become greater still.”
He concludes: “AIS is a work in progress, and we will continue to develop the system with the help of community feedback. There are many more features we can add to AIS that will make it even more productive and valuable for users, such as performance statistics and driver monitoring.”
CCS-UK User Group is the not-for-profit body that represents the 900 members of the CCS-UK community: liaising with HM Revenue and Customs, airport authorities, trade bodies and legislators to ensure that the voice of the UK air cargo community is always heard when and where it matters.
It works closely with BT (the operators of CCS-UK) to identify and understand the changing needs and regulations of the airfreight industry, and develop new features and capabilities for CCS-UK to ensure it remains relevant and users remain compliant.