Freightliner accelerates progress towards Net Zero with low emission fuel

Freightliner accelerates progress towards Net Zero with low emission fuel

30.11.2021 | Rail

Freightliner accelerates progress towards Net Zero with low emission fuel

Rail operator trials cleaner fuel solution designed by GBF and Shell.

Freightliner embarks on further operational trials of Gd45 powered by Shell GTL Fuel, a new cleaner, low carbon fuel supplied by Green Biofuels Ltd (GBF), as part of its ongoing commitment to clean air and carbon reduction.

Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) and a leading UK rail freight operator is supporting the development of Gd45 powered by Shell GTL Fuel, a new lower emission fuel, and will be the first to use the product for operational trials on some of its diesel-powered services in support of their commitment to enhancing the environmental benefits of rail freight transportation.

This new, cleaner fuel solution designed by GBF, the UK’s leading provider of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and Shell, tackles GHG (greenhouse gases) and particulate emissions in the rail and road freight industry. Gd45 Powered by Shell GTL Fuel consists of 55% Shell GTL (gas to liquids) Fuel and 45% Gd+ HVO.

Freightliner has been extensively trialling the fuel on some of its services over recent months in partnership with GBF and Shell. Data collected from the testing shows significant emissions reductions in diesel engines of 84% methane, 14% NOx and 18% ultra-fine particulates when compared to regular diesel. There was no performance impact or loss of horsepower.

The substantial carbon and air quality benefits show that this will be an important transitional fuel on the journey to net-zero by 2050. Transitioning across to Gd45 powered by Shell GTL Fuel for diesel services would lower Freightliner’s CO2e emissions by 50%, equivalent to 91,740mt every year.

GBF is a UK Business Climate Leader and the first HVO supplier to be approved by Zemo’s Renewable Fuels Assurance Scheme.

Magnus Hammick, Chief Operating Officer at GBF, comments:

“GBF has been delighted to be fully engaged with the Freightliner team to show the empirical benefits of advanced fuels. The current energy crisis shows both the resilience of industry to innovate other ways to hit their net-zero goals and the value of drop-in alternative fuels on the road to decarbonising rail. We’re happy to see great strides have been made, but the recent hikes in energy prices and the fact the UK National Grid is still in the process of cutting its emissions shows that we still have a way to travel to achieve these long-term goals. The rail networks deliver the lowest carbon solution for bulk freight movement when running on Gd45 powered by Shell GTL Fuel.

“Gd45 Powered by Shell GTL Fuel is a bridging technology that supports the emissions reductions of legacy fleets in the interim period between now and net-zero. It’s a way to make an immediate difference today.”

Tim Shakerley, Managing Director, Rail at Freightliner, comments:

“With COP 26 focusing global attention on the importance of climate change, Freightliner is committed to and at the forefront of a number of energy-saving initiatives aimed at reducing their carbon footprint even further.

“Rail is already the most carbon-efficient mode for transporting freight around Great Britain, and growing volumes using alternative fuels will be crucial to support the decarbonisation of the UK economy.

“The journey to net-zero 2050 will require a range of different technologies and fuels, and we are delighted to have supported the development of this transitional fuel. The emissions reductions are exceptional, with average reduced CO2e emissions of 43%, a reduction in NOx of 14% and 18% fewer ultra-fine particulates compared to conventional diesel, demonstrating the strong carbon and air quality benefits of this fuel.

“Working closely with GBF and Shell, the trials show that this fuel offers significant environmental gains, with no performance impact or loss of horsepower. We are delighted that Freightliner will continue operational trials of the Gd45 Powered by Shell GTL Fuel across a number of our services.”

Renee Power at Shell, GM – Global GTL Market Development comments:

“Working closely with GBF, we have developed Gd45Powered by Shell GTL Fuel, a lower carbon, cleaner fuel to help the hard to abate sectors like the rail and road freight industry, take the first step on their decarbonisation journey today.”

i * The GHG savings percentage indicated is an approximate figure based on calculations made in accordance with data (and averages) sourced from the UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting 2020 evaluation of GTL and HVO lifecycle (WtW) carbon intensity, available in Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Greenhouse gas reporting: conversion factors 2020. Savings percentages may be lower than stated above, with no guarantees provided.

How to ensure your office Christmas party is tax-deductible

How to ensure your office Christmas party is tax-deductible

30.11.2021 | Tax

How to ensure your office Christmas party is tax-deductible

Claim the costs of entertaining staff as deductible spending for corporation tax purposes. 

With the festive season fast approaching, businesses up and down the country are in the final stages of planning their annual Christmas celebrations.

From turkey dinners to office drinks, the annual party is a big day in the calendar for most businesses – especially after more than a year of pandemic disruptions.

But while a restaurant meal or a night at the cocktail bar can be an expensive soiree, companies are able to claim back spending for corporation tax purposes.

Here, Andrew Diver, Head of Tax from Beatons Group, explains how businesses can ensure their Christmas party is tax-deductible.

How does it work?
While there is no specific “Christmas party exemption”, limited companies can claim the costs of entertaining staff as deductible spending for corporation tax purposes. This will extend to the Christmas party as long as the event is not also intended to entertain customers.

However, it is also important to ensure that the cost of the event isn’t treated as a taxable benefit for employees attending. For the annual event exemption, the event must meet a set of conditions.

How do you qualify?
Expenditure of up to £150 per head on an annual staff function, such as a Christmas party or a summer gathering, can be exempt from both Income Tax charges and employer’s National Insurance. It doesn’t have to be a single function. The exemption can cover several events, so long as the total cost per head does not exceed £150 per tax year.

The £150 per head figure is calculated by taking the costs of the event, transport and accommodation divided by the number of attendees. If the cost of an event exceeds £150 per head, the total cost becomes taxable, not just the excess over £150.

To benefit from this, the events must also be open to all employees. Don’t worry if you have premises in Felixstowe and Liverpool; you don’t all need to go to a single party for the exemption to apply. Where there are company premises in a number of different regions, it is important that all employees in each region are invited.

Virtual parties in the Covid age are also covered by the exemption, meaning associated costs such as gifts for consumption at the party are also tax-deductible.

What if you exceed the limit?
HMRC is strict in ensuring the protocol is followed, with any costs exceeding the limit needing to be reported. Where an event exceeds the limit, it would need to be reported on employees forms P11D, and the employee would then be liable to tax on their share of the cost of the event.

There is, however, the possibility for the company to reach a PAYE Settlement Agreement with HMRC to pay the tax on behalf of the employees.

Can you claim back VAT?
VAT can be claimed back so long as the event falls under “staff welfare” and is not deemed by HMRC as a means of entertaining clients.

Revenues officials may also apply restrictions to how much you can claim depending on the number of non-employees who attend.

For more information on Beatons Group and how their staff can help you and your business with tax-related enquiries, visit

Record fertiliser volumes arrive at ABP Ipswich

Record fertiliser volumes arrive at ABP Ipswich

30.11.2021 | Ports

Record fertiliser volumes arrive at ABP Ipswich

Port of Ipswich plays an integral role in the supply of fertiliser to the region’s farmers.

Amid the current shortage of nitrogen fertiliser, ABP’s Port of Ipswich is bucking the trend and seeing record amounts arrive at its shores. In October alone, seven vessels (four dry bulk and three tankers) carrying 59,450 metric tonnes of fertiliser safely came through the port; up from 5,452 metric tonnes in October 2020. Last month also saw the port’s largest single fertiliser cargo received to date.

2021 has born witness to strong demand for fertiliser and low supply. The situation was made worse in September when Britain’s two nitrogen fertiliser plants closed.

Dave Blackmore, Director at Ameropa, the global expert in agricultural business practices commented:

“Ameropa are delighted to work with our contract partners in bringing a record-breaking cargo of fertiliser to Ipswich. We’d like to thank the ABP stevedoring team for their attention to detail in discharging our vessel in good time and with great care.

“Being able to ship such quantities helps all involved in providing a competitive and essential fertiliser for the UK farming community.”

Andrew Butler – Commercial Director, South at Omex said:

“Market conditions this year have been particularly difficult for fertiliser suppliers, however, OMEX are committed to UK agriculture and our team are working tirelessly to ensure we have a high-quality product available for our customers throughout the Spring season. Our latest record deliveries into ABP Ipswich mark a number of record achievements for OMEX, as the UK’s largest-ever vessel of liquid fertiliser arrived at ABP Immingham in September. Our distribution hubs are located strategically around the UK, with help from ports such as ABP, to ensure the farmer gets what they need when they need it.”

Paul Ager Divisional Port Manager East Coast said:

“I am pleased that the Port of Ipswich is playing an integral role in the supply of fertiliser to our farmers. We are ideally located to support Britain’s breadbasket, and I hope this goes some way of returning confidence for a strong spring yield.”

The Port of Ipswich is typically better known as the UK’s leading grain export port but recently fertiliser imports have taken over as the main activities onsite. British supply is slowly returning but ABP ports will no doubt continue to handle large volumes of fertiliser for the foreseeable future and support the British farming industry.

Better Breaks, Safer Stops Campaign gains traction

Better Breaks, Safer Stops Campaign gains traction

17.11.2021 | Haulage

Better Breaks, Safer Stops campaign gains traction

100th sign up as The Swain Group pledges its support. 

With the logistics industry’s latest initiative supporting better welfare facilities for its drivers – the ‘Better Breaks, Safer Stops’ campaign now has over 100 companies, and organisations signed up and pledging their support.

Officially launched at October’s Multimodal exhibition 2021, Steve Jones of Goldstar Transport, the initiators of the scheme, says: “Our launch at Multimodal resulted in a steady stream of sign-ups, and since then we’ve had over 75 additional organisations get in touch keen to support the initiative.”

The ongoing lack of safe and appropriate rest stops for drivers is exemplified by the Orwell Crossing closure on the A14 near Felixstowe. Steve continues: “Rather than ‘Better Breaks, Safer Stops’ being a Goldstar led initiative, we want the whole industry, from its giants to its SMEs and suppliers, to get behind the campaign and work as one. This year alone, here at Goldstar, we’ve experienced close to 80 attempted break-ins of our trucks when our drivers are parked up. These figures confirm this is a genuine issue affecting the whole sector. We hope is to sit down with government and develop a plan to improve standards for existing HGV parking and rest facilities, as well as secure a commitment for new secure driver dedicated areas.”

Matthew Deer, group managing director of The Swain Group, continues: “During recent Multimodal panel discussions for road freight, I also addressed the need for better parking and welfare facilities. We know it can be done with the right amount of focus and support from government. The facilities in Ashford, Kent, preparing for Brexit customs clearance, are an excellent example of facilities that are secure, modern, clean and built quickly to a high standard. In my view, we need more like this standard to attract and keep drivers.”

With VARTAN Consultancy, Fargo Systems, and logistics website, Porttalk, already guaranteeing their support, the Felixstowe-based companies are working with Goldstar Transport to get the initiative off the ground.

Steve Collins of Fargo Systems says: “As a company that delivers digital technology to help the sector to thrive, we’re equally keen to ensure that those working in the industry have the best possible experience. As a given, drivers should have access to the facilities they require to enable them to do the best job possible.”

Miles Vartan, founder of VARTAN consultancy, continues: “To be the well-oiled machine that it is, the logistics industry requires the regulatory compliance of its drivers. But whilst they’re doing their bit and jumping through hoops to work within the regulations, they have to find safe places to park up overnight and access limited rest facilities. Other sectors wouldn’t expect to be treated in such a manner, and neither should our drivers.”

Paula Bennet of Porttalk adds: “As a news platform for the logistics sector in the region, we’re committed to promoting and supporting this initiative.

“Government needs to work with the sector to make the role of HGV driver an attractive career choice for women and men. Providing sufficient rest areas so that drivers don’t have to urinate in a bottle due to lack of facilities is a good starting point.”

If you’re interested in registering your support for the scheme, contact Steve Jones at Goldstar Transport on 01394 600523 ex 2030 or click here.


Most British bosses expect growth in 2022 but voice post-Brexit concerns over trade

Most British bosses expect growth in 2022 but voice post-Brexit concerns over trade

17.1.2021 | Logistics

Most British bosses expect growth in 2022 but voice post-Brexit concerns over trade

New Survey reports 80% of British bosses believe both the economy and their own businesses will improve in the next 12 months.

Ipsos Mori’s annual ‘Captains of Industry’ survey, reported in the FT, found levels of optimism not seen since the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Most of the UK’s top executives are increasingly confident about growth despite worries over recruitment, Brexit and the pandemic.

More than 100 top executives were interviewed for the report.

Economic uncertainty and the effects of the pandemic remain the biggest concerns, although less so than last year.

However, many respondents were negative about the impact of the UK leaving the EU. Three-quarters fear the loss of trade with the EU will outweigh gains from new trade deals.

Less than a fifth thought that the government was doing enough to help their businesses compete internationally.

A fifth of bosses strongly disagreed that the government stood a good chance of improving the economy if given another term, and a quarter had no confidence in its post-pandemic economic recovery strategy.

Can’t get the staff
Ongoing labour shortages are reflected in the latest survey as more than a third said maintaining staff levels was one of their biggest concerns, rising from a quarter last year.

Two-thirds of respondents think the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy will hamper the country’s economic recovery from Covid.

The executives also raised concerns over the impact of the pandemic on future working practices. More than two-thirds predict the majority of their UK staff will split their time between the office and home.

Slowing recovery
The latest economic growth figures from the ONS show Britain’s recovery slowed over the summer due to the ‘pingdemic’ and global supply shortages, reports the Guardian
National output expanded by 1.3% in the three months to September, leaving it 2.1% below its pre-crisis level in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Source: Institute of Export and International Trade.

Source: Institute of Export & International Trade