January 29 - The availability of low-cost road haulage has been blamed for the recent entry into administration of UK coastal and shortsea bulk shipping operator, Coastal Bulk Shipping.
Tim Lowry, the company's managing director, has been quoted as saying that rock-bottom pricing by the road haulage industry was the most significant contributory factor.
The UK industry body Freight by Water supported Lowry's view. Freight by Water's executive director Francis Power commented: "We are very concerned that the economic downturn is resulting in a situation where cost is disproportionately trumping carbon and congestion as our national priority in the distribution of goods. We don't want to see a situation developing where we have a dramatic increase in carbon emissions from road freight movements for the sake of marginal cost savings. At some point market conditions will resume to some sort of equilibrium. OPEC has made clear that it also expects to see a return to higher oil prices (it suggests $80 a barrel). When that happens we'll be back to the wholly unsustainable ways of the past and if we don't have the water and rail freight industries to offer viable alternatives, we'll be stuck there. The flexible and efficient services previously offered by Coastal Bulk Shipping will be greatly missed,especially its ability to take freight, including abnormal loads, off the