Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Physical Distribution (CHT 01)

  Physical Distribution Ltd is a family owned business and operates as a specialist rail forwarder between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe and vice versa. The company has traded over the last fifteen years, encouraging large manufacturers such as Corus, Allied Steel and Wire and Bridgnorth Aluminium, to utilise the European rail network as a major logistics provider.

  Through our extensive knowledge of customers transportation needs, the international rail infrastructure and rolling stock available throughout Europe, Physical Distribution has been able to develop transport routes by rail, thus successfully achieving competitive freight solutions for our customers and consequently transporting approximately 80,000 tonnes of freight per annum through the Channel Tunnel.

  Due to changes in the supply of Internationally approved rail rolling stock, Physical Distribution has found it necessary to undertake, by way of lease over 5 years, over 120 rail cars. This demonstrates the commitment and belief that a private company has in the product which it sells.

  Since 11 November 2001, and as a direct result of the actions of the SNCF in not providing the necessary security for the Channel Tunnel at Frethun, our business is now very seriously under threat with jobs losses imminent.

  The inability to move rail wagons freely through the Channel Tunnel has resulted in the following costs to be incurred by our business:
Loss of OrdersEuro 324,000.00
Lost contribution to fixed asset costEuro 70,000.00
Wagon delays in EuropeEuro 415,000.00
Additional CostsEuro 50,000.00

  As a direct result of the poor reliability of the Channel Tunnel, rail borne goods have now been transferred to road delivery at an added 30% cost to our customer. This is wholly unacceptable both to us and our customer, but also negates the efforts of the government wish to gain 80% rail freight growth.

  The above costs are a very accurate and reflect the extremely negative impact the suspension of rail services through the Channel Tunnel have caused to our company and both my British and European customers.

Alan Robert

24 May 2002

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