New system for lorry movements

TRUCKERS will have to pre-book their visits to Britain's biggest port from November it was revealed today - which could cut lorry numbers on the A14 at peak times.

TRUCKERS will have to pre-book their visits to Britain's biggest port from November it was revealed today - which could cut lorry numbers on the A14 at peak times.

Trials have been taking place to test a Vehicle Booking System (VBS) which will control the number of lorries calling in any hour.

In the current system, far more vehicles can turn up at any time than can be catered for and more than 4,000 lorries visit the port each day.

This number will grow considerably - probably by more than 50per cent - as the port expands in the next decade.


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But of those 4,000 lorries, more than 1,600 arrive within a six hour period - the peak coming between 4pm and 7pm each day, even though the port is open 24 hours a day.

Under the new VBS, drivers will be asked to pre book a container delivery or collection time and will be allocated hour-long time slots for their visit.

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The port has now told hauliers they must be registered for the new system by the end of the month and bookings will be mandatory by November.

Over the winter teething problems will be ironed out and the system will be fully operational by spring next year.

After negotiations with port users it has been agreed not to charge for peak period bookings, but there will still be a fee of £21 for truckers failing to turn up in the allotted time.

There will be an exchange system set up to allow hauliers to swap slots if their drivers encounter problems on the road and get delayed.

The system will be web based and will make the running of the storage parks far more efficient

A port spokesman said: “VBS will virtually eliminate the current rejections that occur within the gate complexes. Currently, approximately 15 per cent of all arriving drivers are rejected due to incorrect or incomplete information being entered in advance of their arrival.

“The introduction of VBS will enable the port to use the information provided in advance to improve the service level to hauliers.”

Do you support the new system? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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