Train Graphic
Great Western Passengers' Forum [home] and [about]
Current travel advice (early 2021)
Forum in and beyond Coronavirus
Travel & transport from BBC stories as at 01:35 01 Mar 2021
- Covid: Beach car parks shut to stop lockdown rule-breakers
- Jobless rate around UK airports above average, say MPs
Read about the forum [here].
Register [here] - it's free.
What do I gain from registering? [here]
 today - End, Bath Transport consultat.
03/03/21 - South East On Track - ONLINE
08/03/21 - School (travel) returns
09/03/21 - Tuesday Club - ONLINE
Random Image
Train Running Polls Acronyms/Abbreviations Station Comparator Rail news GWR co. site Site Style 1 2 3 4
Next departures • Bristol Temple MeadsBath SpaChippenhamSwindonDidcot ParkwayReadingLondon PaddingtonMelksham
Exeter St DavidsTauntonWestburyTrowbridgeBristol ParkwayCardiff CentralOxfordCheltenham SpaBirmingham New Street
March 01, 2021, 01:44:12 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most liked recent subjects
[146] Regular commuters: What are your current plans and preference...
[71] A new name for the organisation that runs the railways
[56] Terrible day in UK rail history 28 February
[41] Friday 28th February 2020 - Greta Thunberg in Bristol.
[39] No services between Taunton and Exeter 27/2/21- WW2 bomb
[36] Bow Street Station (Aberystwyth) opens 14.2.2021
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Do rising shipping costs, paperwork and taxes help us towards carbon zero?  (Read 365 times)
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 32572



View Profile WWW Email
« on: January 23, 2021, 02:25:27 pm »

* Are we headed back to a world where we ship far less higher volume, lower cost product half way round the world? 

* Would that help up move towards zero carbon? 

* Do the extra border issues actually encourage longer term greener solutions?

* Will the tax elements mean government income which can be invested in a better public transport system?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55740063

Quote
"We were paying GBP-1,600 per container in November, this month we've been quoted over GBP-10,000," says Helen White.

The founder of start-up Houseof.com, which imports lighting from China, says the rise in shipping costs means she's making a loss on what she sells.

She's one of many UK importers facing soaring freight costs amid a global shipping crisis that may last months.

A shortage of empty shipping containers in Asia and bottlenecks at the UK's deep sea ports are behind the problems.

It was hoped the backlogs could be cleared during the Chinese New Year holiday in February, but instead a coronavirus outbreak in China is adding to the uncertainty facing firms.

https://www.bifa.org/news/articles/2019/oct/uk-supply-chains-face-15bn-annual-freight-admin-cost-rise-from-no-deal-brexit - An old article, but it seems it may not be far out:

Quote
Noting that because these different types of businesses "will interact with customs in different ways, the costs they incur are different", HMRC estimates that the costs will vary between GBP-15 and GBP-56 per declaration.

And (but it has faded down my news feed very quickly) the story of the lady who bought a GBP-180 coat online to be shipped from Europe and found herself faced with an extra GBP-60 of shipping and tax charges.
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
broadgage
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3642



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2021, 03:16:29 pm »

In my view, higher shipping costs are, within reason a good thing for the enviroment.
I would prefer to see more food produced and more goods manufactured within the UK for use in the UK. Similar arguments apply to other nations.
In a modern world no nation can be completly self sufficient, there will allways be the need for some international trade, it would however be preferable to minimise this in the interests of reducing fuel used for transport.

The UK can not produce enough food to feed the entire population, despite enormous efforts in the last war we still needed some imports, and the population was smaller then.
I would still prefer a reduction in food imports and an increase in domestic production.

I see no merit in importing basic raw materials such as steel from halfway round the world.

As stated elswhere in these fora, I am opposed to any expansion of air travel, and indeed would like to see a contraction. This applies not just to passengers but also to air freight. I am opposed to air freight of perishable food stuffs. Do we need air freighted tomatoes when out of season ? not in my view. When tomatoes are not in season in the UK, either eat something else, or as a second choice import them by rail from the warmer bits of europe, not by air.
As above, some food imports are unavoidable, but these should in my view be non perishable bulk products like grain that can be shipped by sea.

The international shipping of perishable foods by air or road also carries a significant risk of loss by spoilage when delays occur. Unaceptable in a hungry world, and another reason to limit imports to non perishables.
Logged

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 32572



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2021, 04:19:29 pm »

Over the last year, we have moved far more to home delivery of food and in following up this thread, I've taken a look at the fortnightly fruit and veg list ...



Hmm ... half UK, about a half of the rest from Southern Europe, and the final quarter from far and wider. I've little to judge that by - whether it's bad or good.  Varies every fortnight, but proportions across countries probably typical.

I have noticed that we are using fewer tins, fewer frozen foods, fewer ready meals, and fewer take-aways and also learning to use up food better and throw fewer things out.  Probably good for us health wise, wonder how all this lot balances on the carbon scales.
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
broadgage
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3642



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2021, 05:32:35 pm »

In the case of the above list, it depends not just on the distance but also on transport mode.
In general air is likely to be worst, truck intermediate, and train best.

The import of highly perishable soft fruits and salads is IMHO unwise due to the risk of spoilage in the event of delay.
Logged

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Robin Summerhill
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 978


View Profile Email
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2021, 06:52:13 pm »

To an extent this thread went off topic with the first reply. The original question was ?do rising shipping costs, paperwork and taxes help us towards carbon zero.? Whilst the country of origin of the items in the larder in Graham?s house might be of interest to some, it has very little to do with the original question, and neither indeed has the international trade good or bad reply contributing an answer to it either.

Taxes can reduce demand for specific items but only when they are raised to penal proportions. It is true, for example, that high alcohol and tobacco taxes may have an effect on consumption of those products, but even then those who are addicted to those substances will pay the price anyway, or turn to criminality to get hold of them eg buying contraband. So in those cases the trade still carries on but it goes on in the black market. And as we know from history such as during WW2, there were plenty of people around who could supply the things the government couldn?t or wouldn?t. At a price, of course...

The other major problem with taxes is that they are a very blunt instrument, and increasing them has a disproportionate effect on the poorer in society, who will see either their range of choice decline or they will pay out a higher proportion of their family income for the product you have increased the price of. The better off section of society will not find the same issues arising

Anyone who thinks that that international trade will decline as a result of a carbon zero policy is likely to be sadly disappointed. Reducing international trade because of the totally inept way Brexit has been negotiated and implemented, based on ideology rather than real world pragmatism, might and almost certainly will reduce trade with the EU but would increase trade with other countries which are by definition further away. This country has been importing from other countries ever since this island became an island 8000 or so years ago, and that will not change any time soon.

It is difficult to address the question of whether paperwork will help a zero carbon policy seriously. An increase in paperwork and bureaucracy will keep a few thousand Sir Humphreys in paid employment and not necessarily gainfully, and computer hardware abd software companie would benefit too, not many of whom carry out their businesses in the UK. If any of it wants writing down ie the paperwork side, then down come another few Brazilian rain forests. There?s a win-win situation if ever I saw an illusory one...

The short answer to the original questions is a huge and decisive no

Logged
Bmblbzzz
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3272


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2021, 10:24:56 am »

It depends what you mean by "penal proportions". Experience with tobacco and alcohol shows that consumption is price sensitive. Obviously some will "get their fix" whatever the price or law, but most purchases are more discretionary. However, if we follow the drinking and smoking theme, we'll get even further from the subject of "carbon zero".
Logged

Waiting at Pilning for the midnight sleeper to Prague.
TaplowGreen
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 5535


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2021, 10:48:13 am »

It depends what you mean by "penal proportions". Experience with tobacco and alcohol shows that consumption is price sensitive. Obviously some will "get their fix" whatever the price or law, but most purchases are more discretionary. However, if we follow the drinking and smoking theme, we'll get even further from the subject of "carbon zero".

Demand for addictive items such as alcohol and tobacco is (relatively) price inelastic as they are "addictive" goods (particularly tobacco) and reducing demand via price is much harder, so I can see where Robin is coming from with the phrase "penal proportions"- a small rise wouldn't/didn't make much difference - petrol is another good example with the Exchequer doing very nicely, thankyou.

Taking Graham's basket as an example, it's also worth bearing in mind the effect on the economies and life chances of countries/producers should wealthier nations like the UK seek to pull the plug (for example Ivory Coast) on the altar of carbon reduction - it's a difficult balance to strike.



Logged
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 32572



View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2021, 11:18:40 am »

Taking Graham's basket as an example, it's also worth bearing in mind the effect on the economies and life chances of countries/producers should wealthier nations like the UK seek to pull the plug (for example Ivory Coast) on the altar of carbon reduction - it's a difficult balance to strike.

https://www.bananalink.org.uk/all-about-bananas/

Reading the text at that link seems to imply / confirm that bananas are shipped by sea which (members, help me please) is probably a lot more carbon friendly per fruit than air freight which I suspect was used for the kiwi fruit in my list.
Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
Bmblbzzz
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3272


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2021, 12:00:10 pm »

It depends what you mean by "penal proportions". Experience with tobacco and alcohol shows that consumption is price sensitive. Obviously some will "get their fix" whatever the price or law, but most purchases are more discretionary. However, if we follow the drinking and smoking theme, we'll get even further from the subject of "carbon zero".

Demand for addictive items such as alcohol and tobacco is (relatively) price inelastic as they are "addictive" goods (particularly tobacco) and reducing demand via price is much harder, so I can see where Robin is coming from with the phrase "penal proportions"- a small rise wouldn't/didn't make much difference - petrol is another good example with the Exchequer doing very nicely, thankyou.
Yes, but it's not only about the addicted. There's evidence that relatively small price rises have a noticeable effect on new or potential users; principally we're talking about teenagers. See also the effect of minimum unit pricing and outlawing bulk-buy discounts for alcohol in Scotland and some other countries (and the fuss it caused when considered in England because "middle class wine fans would be forced to cut back").

Not clear however how that transfers to energy and carbon. Carbon isn't addictive but energy is!
Logged

Waiting at Pilning for the midnight sleeper to Prague.
Robin Summerhill
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 978


View Profile Email
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2021, 12:01:49 pm »

Just to clarify, it was not my intention to further hijack the thread by mentioning alcohol and tobacco taxes, but simply using them to illustrate the point that tax manipulation will not have any significant affect on a zero carbon policy. There are plenty of other examples including VAT itself; when introduced it was at 10%, and subsequently the percentage rates have been 8, 15, 17.5, 15, 17.5 and 20. I doubt that these rate changes have made much difference to purchasing habits.

The point made by TG about developing economies is also a very valid one. Whilst the Kippers and their allies on the far right of the Tory party might like it to be the case, the civilised world does not end at Dover or Lands End with maps showing Here Be Dragons beyond them.

The way toward carbon zero must lie in making international trade more energy efficient. Talking off the top of my head so quite happy to be shot down in flames by those who know better, but would a combination of wind and battery power work for shipping? When the wind is blowing in the right direction they could be operated by sail, and at other times the battery power could kick in with the power being generated from the wind? I understand that electricity and water doesn?t mix very well, but every ship out there at the moment has electrical power circuits already, so clearly there are ways to overcome the issue
Logged
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

Jump to top of pageJump to Forum Home Page