Is it time you took a punt on water freight?
Elaine Knutt, Editor CM
The low take-up of water freight as the sustainable Third Way at the Olympic is all too understandable.
When contractors have to deliver on time, budget and with the watching eyes of the British public on them, no logistics manager is going to sign up for an unproven system when road and rail are practically and metaphorically delivering the goods. But that still leaves the uncomfortable sense that the Olympic Park is turning its back on the very waterways that will lend it character and visual appeal during and after the Games.
Of course, water freight will only ever be an option on sites that meet specific criteria: an adjacent, navigable canal or river, and loading and unloading facilities at the goods’ point of origin and destination. Everything else – grants, barges, cranes and the willingness to get to grips with slower journey times and longer lead times – can be found or developed, and need be no more of a constraining factor than drivers’ tacheographs or assembling bulk
loads to make rail freight economic.
But the fact that water freight is only practical on some sites has been taken as an invitation to view it as impractical on every site. To add to the problem, the range of voluntary and policy measures that are greening every other aspect of construction, from design to demolition, aren’t really in place on goods transport.
So for contractors and clients that do take to the water, all the sustainability and regeneration benefits also come with the added satisfaction of helping to shift attitudes. Water freight will never have all the answers, but it’s in everyone’s interest to develop a competitive, sustainable alternative where we can.
We hope you’ve dropped by at www.construction-manager.co.uk, and liked what you’ve seen. Every Friday, we will send a newsletter rounding up the industry’s weekly news to subscribers. Sign up before 22 February for a chance to win a £50 M&S voucher. Several readers have posted comments on articles, and we’ve printed some (right). But we’d like more comments, whether approving or critical, posing questions or providing answers. Your comments will turn the website into a conversation.
Elaine Knutt, Editor
Embrace the digital world…
Nick Pauley, via website
Purely from a digital marketing perspective, New Deacde, New Journey (January 2010) gives hope for the way the construction industry does business.
Long gone are the days when building product manufacturers needed to produce ream after ream of paper-based spec sheets and glossy brochures, gone is the necessity for specialist contractors to produce masses of printed collateral.
Manufacturers and contractors can now leverage their old print and advertising budgets on targeted, measurable and relevant digital media and what’s great is that they’ll be able to report the Return On Investment benefits to their boards.
Face-to-face is important and should never be underestimated, but simply replacing a print model with a digital model will make a massive cut in spend and take countless sales people off the road and onto the phones and engaging with online social networks.
These testing times are encouraging the construction industry to drop old thinking and adopt new ways of working. Engaging with customers and prospects is a great thing and digital marketing will play its part in restoring confidence within the Great British construction industry.
To my mind the Olympics is a red herring, and those companies that are not involved have just as much of an opportunity. The Olympics is short-term distraction that will only benefit the few. Great that we’ve got the Games and let’s do them justice, but will it singularly restore the industry’s fortunes? I doubt it.
… but celebrate a lost one
Tom Jones, via website
Having lived and worked in Australia for the past 24 years, to observe the marvellous architecture and engineering feats of the motherland from afar (Second Coming, January 2010), is quite daunting and humbling. It’s interesting to reflect that our forebears achieved these monuments in simpler/ joyful/ bygone times without the clinical analysis so prevalent today.
What’s in a name?
Alan Blunden, via website
In response to John Bale’s column (January 2010), the creation of a term to identify the role of CIOB members, even simply by considering where the “centre of gravity” lies, has always been a thorny issue. Our drive for inclusivity, enabled by the widening of the membership over the past few years to include building surveyors, facilities managers, building controllers, environmentalists, conservationists and others, has made this even more difficult.
I listened to Alan Crane at the Sir Ian Dixon scholars’ presentation this week and he bemoaned the use of terms such as main contractor, designer and subcontractor that place the project partners in silos and continues to inhibit integration and collaboration.
So why create a term at all? Can’t we relish and be proud of our diversity, and let that be the differentiator between ourselves and the other professions?
I want paperless CPD
Warren Matthews MCIOB
Can you advise whether CM will re-introduce online CPD as I consider it rather unfortunate that the first CPD of 2010 promotes sustainability yet CM is encouraging waste through printing and faxing answers that could previously be handled online and more economically for the user. This appears to be something of a faux pas when I had been hoping to see a more automated system introduced with results emailed instead of posted. Is this not cost effective?
Also I work in a paperless office and do not have a fax!
Unfortunately, we cannot offer an online CPD questionnaire service at present, but we will be keeping the situation under review – Ed.
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