'Anti-competitive behaviour is completely inappropriate to modern, environmentally sustainable supply chain solutions,' said Richard Turner, Chief Executive of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), at the international 'Climate Change: The Business Forecast' conference, hosted jointly by Defra and DTI which was held yesterday (5 October), in the build-up to the next G8 Summit.

The event was intended to identify the frameworks needed by business to encourage long-term energy efficient investment as well as the business opportunities in a low carbon economy.

Richard Turner pointed to the Block Exemption in the liner shipping industry which encouraged over-capacity and collusion between shipping lines, leading to inefficient use of capacity and deployment of vessels, high prices for the shippers and little incentive to lift quality or efficiency.

He also had a warning for the European Commission as it embarked on a review of its 10 year transport White Paper, a cornerstone of which is to add cost and legislation to road transport in order to promote wider use of water and rail transport for freight movements.

Mr Turner said, 'We delude ourselves if we think legislators can make more appropriate modal decisions than shippers. As soon as legislators start interfering in business decisions about how supply chains are structured and the way in which freight is moved, business costs go up. Low carbon use best practice can offer a win-win for both the environment and for businesses bottom line. However, effective use of different transport modes can only be successfully embedded in business behaviour through informed choice, not by enforced modal shift.'

However, he stressed that reliability and resilience remained the cornerstones of modern supply chains. 'All too often our roads, rails and ports are congested, thus creating unproductive cost and emissions. There are plenty of easy climate change wins removing these environmental black spots.'

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