chaz2Welcome to the 1 September Warehouse & Logistics News. Drink has been the ruin of many a good man and woman. Now, in our days of rising fuel costs and crippling duty, the latest research suggests that Scotland’s whisky industry could turn out to be the unlikely saviour of everyone in road transport, given government support.

While you’re pondering that possibility, in this issue we’ve got features on Tyres, Wheels & Castors, Racking & Shelving and Warehouse I.T. Tyres, Wheels & Castors includes specialised tyres for mobile equipment in the warehouse. Racking & Shelving covers Pallet racking, cantilever racking, shelving and storage solutions. Warehouse I.T looks at RFID, barcodes, readers, scanners, tags, labels and handheld technology.

Crawling through the M25 roadworks and watching the fuel gauge slowly drop was the perfect time to hear Professor Martin Tangney, Director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, on Radio 4’s Today programme, extolling butanol’s virtues as a vehicle fuel.

Scotland’s distilleries generate a wealth of energy-rich biomass, as a result of whisky production. The latest research suggests that butanol, a substance made from this biomass in a secondary distillation, has the potential to be used as a green fuel without modifications to vehicle engines. Ethanol, the commonest biofuel, only has 70 per cent of the energy of petrol, whereas according to the Prof, butanol has almost the same energy.

Adopting butanol will help make us less dependent on oil, and it’s green. The transport industry will certainly welcome it. The question is, has the government got the guts to back its development?

For some time now forward thinking fleet operators and 3PLs have been trying out biodiesel engines and using vehicles that switch from fuel to electric power to cut emissions in city centres. Alongside this, alternative fuels have taken a high profile in recent years. Before becoming PM, the PR-minded David Cameron was maximizing the ‘green-cred’ value of his hybrid car. So, now’s the time for Mr Cameron to embrace his Scottish lineage, raise his green warrior’s standard once again and back the transport business, all in one move by encouraging a move to butanol. But has he got the bottle?!

To quote the MD of a leading pallet network, no UK government in the last 25 years has paid any attention to the needs of road transport. So, could this be the start of a new era of co-operation? We’ll drink to that!

Warehouse & Logistics News

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