UK sleep-walks to Olympic logistics nightmare

By Freddie Dawson

- Last updated on GMT

The race is on to find solutions to what could become a logistical nightmare of olympic proportions
The race is on to find solutions to what could become a logistical nightmare of olympic proportions
The nation is sleepwalking towards a logistics nightmare that could gridlock the capital and other sports venues during the Olympic Games, warns a logistics expert.

Jon Swallow, director of logistics firm Jordon Freight, told the lack of nationwide planning left London and other Olympic venues in Wales and Scotland vulnerable to widespread severe disruption.

Swallow said: It is ironic that while the haulage industry faces, possibly, the most disruption, no widespread ‘stress test’ has been coordinated.

“It is difficult for this industry to simulate its own ‘stress test’ and, as a result, the situation is incredibly unpredictable.”

No plans for widespread tests

While Transport for London (TfL) had conducted small-scale stress tests (or experiments) – with measures such as lifting restrictions on night deliveries, access to residential areas, and people working from home – there were no plans for widespread tests.

In the absence of co-ordinated large-scale planning, Swallow urged food and drink manufacturers to work with logistics firms and customers to run smaller-scale tests or warn the authorities about the lack of contingency plans.

“Plan, plan, plan – to the best of your ability – something is better than nothing,”​ he added.

For example, many firms have contingency plans to cope with extended periods of bad weather, which could be modified to deal with the Olympics. Customers should be asked to help devise solutions rather than simply expect their suppliers to resolve problems alone.

“No-one wants to have annoyed customers, fines and other financial implications or the potential of spoilt products. So, it’s a case of working together with your customers as a team to make everything run as smoothly as feasibly possible,”​ said Swallow.

Time running out

But with only 77 days until the start of the Games, time was running out to avert a crisis, he added.

A TfL spokeswoman told “TfL does not think there is any need for more tests ​[in addition to those conducted already].”

Advice on how businesses can cope with disruption to deliveries caused by the Games is available on the TfL website. For more information, click here​.

A spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympics Games confirmed no further logistical stress tests were planned.

The Olympic Games will take place between July 27 and August 12 at venues around the UK.

The Paralympic Games will take place from August 29 to September 9.

During the Games, London’s population is expected to rise by about 10%. Many routes around Olympic venues are expected to be heavily congested, restricted or closed.



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