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Northern Ireland Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen may be the best friend of the logistics industry, at least for the next month, thanks to a recent announcement that all road construction projects on the main routes in Northern Ireland would be suspended through until January 4 (2016). The decision to do so was based on a desire to keep traffic flowing during the busy holiday travel season. It is especially beneficial for both independent and company drivers who are under the greatest amount of stress this time of year.

McIlveen specifically mentioned projects in Belfast, Lisburn, and Londonderry as being among those that would be suspended temporarily. This should be very helpful to lorry drivers looking to get into the major metropolitan areas for Christmas deliveries over the next several weeks. Other drivers will benefit as well, with the less congestion and fewer disruptions that are often associated with roadworks.

The Freight Transport Association’s Seamus Lehney praised the decision in an official statement, saying, “FTA members across Northern Ireland face their busiest few weeks in the build-up to Christmas as they make sure our local shops, restaurants and bars are stocked, and that gift parcels are delivered to homes. Hopefully, operators will save vital time in making their deliveries, thus ensuring the public can enjoy the festive period.”

Keeping the Traffic Moving

It is probably safe to say that most of us in the logistics industry applaud the decision by the Northern Ireland government to suspend roadworks until the New Year. They understand the necessity of keeping traffic flowing in order to ensure deliveries are made on time. Perhaps a few lessons could be learned from the exercise, lessons that can be applied in other ways in the future.

As just one example, higher speed limits for lorries could accomplish much the same thing as roadworks suspension by allowing HGVs to keep pace with car traffic. This would reduce tailbacks as well as dangerous manoeuvres among car drivers who attempt to overtake slower HGVs. A uniform speed for all traffic is an excellent way to reduce congestion.

Keeping traffic moving smoothly and as quickly as possible is good for the logistics industry because it gets deliveries to where they need to go faster. It also reduces the stress on drivers who are under strict delivery schedules in order to maximise deliveries without running afoul of driver hours rules.

Stay Safe for Happy Holiday

Roadworks or not, the HGV Training Centre wants to remind both independent and company drivers to stay safe during the busy holiday season. Your most important goal is to stay alive so that you can enjoy the holidays with your friends and family. If that means slowing down a bit and using extra caution during peak travel times, so be it. Stay safe so you can enjoy your own happy holiday along with the rest of the country. As the independent and company drivers that make the economy work, you deserve nothing less.

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