Britain Returns to Normal; Others Tighten Security

July 8, 2005
Londons transit system was the target of a terror attack on July 7th which had a ripple effect on all transportation in the region. Minimal flight delays

London’s transit system was the target of a terror attack on July 7th which had a ripple effect on all transportation in the region. Minimal flight delays were reported at London airports on the day of the attacks, and the Eurotunnel between Britain and France experienced some slowdown for increased security checks. The most significant impact on the logistics network occurred with parcel pick up and delivery in the affected area. Parcel carriers recalled their couriers from the area and only returned to the area as they were permitted by law enforcement officials. Certain areas remained in “lock down” early in the week following the attacks due to recovery and investigative activity.

A spokesman for DHL said the company had experienced some delays in the worst-affected area but any temporary backlogs of shipments had been worked through by the end of the day following the attacks. He said DHL was unaffected by any increased security or delays at London airports because its sortation hub is located outside the area.

The UK’s Royal Mail was forced to suspend its operations after receiving advice from the police. A quarter of its entire UK postal volumes move through London and severe disruption and backlogs at sorting offices resulted, according to U.K.-based Transport Intelligence.

Within a day of the attacks, the London transit system had reopened and surface transportation resumed relatively unrestricted. The U.K. transport authority suspended its congestion charge through Monday July 11th. The charge applies to central London.

Associated British Ports issued a statement that all ABP ports comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and that all ports and associated operations requiring port facility security plans had been assessed and those plans had been approved by TRANSEC, the U.K. Department of Transport’s security directorate. Therefore, sufficient systems and procedures were in place at ABP ports to restrict, control and monitor access to port areas. No disruptions in freight movement were reported at U.K. ports.

Security was increased throughout the country, especially at ports and airports, said Transport Intelligence.

Immediately following the London attacks, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) elevated the level of alert for transit systems only. The U.S. rail freight industry voluntarily raised its level of readiness though, it said, the DHS had not identified any specific threat against U.S. railroads.

The increased measures at U.S. railroads include deployment of additional police officers and K-9 teams as well as increased vigilance along the U.S. rail freight network.

“This is a precautionary step that is part of the industry’s security plan,” said Ed Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads.

Los Angeles World Airports increased security measures at all four of its airports. The measures included additional patrols and K-9 patrols, restricting certain access points, more uniformed policemen at entrances and other measures which the airport authority would not discuss. An airport spokesman said the airports had seen no delays resulting from the attacks.

Some European nations responded by increasing security levels. France raised its alert level to its second highest level. Spain moved to its highest alert level. Berlin and Moscow increased security levels on transit systems. And The Netherlands reportedly increased security at ports with links to the U.K.

A spokesman for DHL said the carrier had seen no delays at U.K. airports, ports or rail connections.