Ever increasing air cargo volumes at Heathrow are only exacerbating age-old problems for companies that have to use the airport’s cargo centre, widely known as the horseshoe, says the head of the UK’s trade association for freight forwarders.

Robert Keen, the British International Freight Association’s (BIFA) Director General says: “Congestion at the horseshoe is as bad as it has ever been and the local police are now turning away vehicles, leading to a huge rise in complaints from our members.

“Britain’s largest port by value recently announced that its cargo volumes have soared over the past 12 months. Last month its non-executive Lord Deighton launched a new plan to minimise the impact of emissions caused by freight vehicles around the airport.

“The plan highlighted ten major steps to be taken in order to handle Heathrow’s cargo operations more efficiently, responsibly and sustainably in the future.

“The plan talks about such things as a Heathrow Cargo Cloud app for local forwarders, upgrading cargo infrastructure at the airport to facilitate additional airside transhipments, the provision of consolidation points away from airport’s local roads, and the development of a new cargo village to help reduce unnecessary vehicle movements.

“We understand the airport will collaborate with local authorities to address congestion points with the introduction of a code of conduct for operators and a joint strategic freight plan for local roads.

“Our members, who currently are enduring misery on a daily basis when using the airport’s cargo centre, want action not words.”