CBI lends support to Higgins HS2 Phase 2 report
The Confederation of British Industry has commented on the recent report for HS2 Phase 2 by Sir David Higgins and has given his vision for economic reinvigoration in the north a ringing endorsement.
In the report, Sir David Higgins, who was Chief Executive of Network Rail for three years, proposes the Government should accelerate Phase Two as soon as possible to take the line 43 miles further north than planned in Phase One, to a new transport hub at Crewe which could be completed by 2027, six years earlier than planned.
He said: “It is the right strategic answer, and not just for the area around Crewe; it would also deliver the benefits of HS2 – in terms of better services to the North – much sooner. On the other hand, the current proposed HS1-HS2 link is, I believe, sub-optimal and should be reconsidered. It is also vital to take the unique opportunity that HS2 presents for the North and use it to the full. And that can only be achieved through a regional, rather than a purely local or national approach.
“That is why, on Phase Two, I have suggested more work needs to be done on integrating HS2 into the existing rail network and potential improvements to it. HS2 should also be fully integrated into the plans that local authorities across the North are making to regenerate their particular economies and communities. It should form part of the effort to revitalise the northern economy as a whole.”
Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors which together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of the private sector-employed workforce.
Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said: "This report sets out a clear blueprint for the next phase of HS2. Businesses throughout the north will welcome Sir David's commitment to boosting growth, jobs and investment across the region.
“We agree that northern cities should speak with one voice and it's important that local transport providers and businesses are also involved if we are to prioritise the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades for the north as a whole.
“Sir David is right to focus on improving east-west links and the priority must be on boosting connections not speed. Any proposals must be well thought-out and the business case water-tight."
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DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.