Page 1

Sharp ■ Informed ■ Challenging

NEWS INSIDE Gregory’s focus

ARR Craib’s Scots focus is attractive for Gregory p3

Clean air

Leeds Council finalises 2020 Clean Air Zone


Tough challenge

Second year of losses at Currie Solutions


OPERATORS IN THIS ISSUE Amazon ................................................p6 ARR Craib Transport ..............................p3 Bullet Express ......................................p6 Currie Solutions ....................................p8 DX Group ..............................................p8 Elddis Transport ....................................p8 Express Freight Services .......................p3 Gregory Distribution ..............................p3 Grocontinental ......................................p8 Halcyon Tankers ...................................p4 Hargreaves Logistics ............................p4 R Swain ................................................p3 Royal Mail ..........................................p20 Turners (Soham) .................................p18


PREMIUM REDEFINED Acquisitions continue a pace with Manchester-based AKW Group added to the fold

Kinaxia eyes 11th deal... By Carol Millett

Kinaxia Logistics will buy its 11th haulier by the end of the year, according to director Peter Fields. Speaking to MT after Kinaxia acquired Trafford Park-based AKW Group last week, Fields said the haulage and warehousing group was set to purchase another logistics firm within the next few weeks and would make further acquisitions in 2019. “If you look at where we are geographically it becomes obvious where we need to be – it is a case of colouring in the map in areas such as the south-west. “However, we are not doing this randomly. We are looking for well-established, quality operations that are typically family-owned or maintain a family-owned culture.” Kinaxia’s acquisition drive has been given added muscle after the group secured an extra £7.5m of funding from

Permira Credit Solutions and an additional £13.1m from HSBC, boosting its war chest to approximately £35m, Fields said. Expanding on the group’s strategy, Fields said: “The plan is to carry on putting together good companies over the next 18 months, by which time we should have become a truly national haulier with a geographical presence in every postcode, and at that point we

will move to an organic growth strategy.” He added that Kinaxia’s acquisition strategy did not include plans to reduce staff numbers and close depots. “That describes the worst kind of venture capitalist,” Fields said. “We allow our companies to run in a decentralised way while taking away the pain of regulatory functions – such as compliance – by centralising those functions.”

The management teams of each company in the group are incentivised by becoming shareholders in Kinaxia. AKW Group is the fifth Palletline member to be bought by Kinaxia, following the purchases of William Kirk, Foulger Transport, Lambert Bros and Panic Transport, although both Foulger Transport and Panic Transport have since left Palletline membership. Asked whether Kinaxia is targeting Palletline companies, Fields said: “That is not the case. It might look like that but we just buy good companies; their pallet network membership is not a driver, it just so happens that those companies were Palletline members. “We see the pallet networks as a core part of the landscape. Anyone who wants to move pallets needs pallet networks. We see ourselves as working in partnership with pallet networks and that is our aim.”

... as its William Kirk is shown the door by Palletline Palletline has asked haulier William Kirk to leave the network after Kinaxia Logistics’ purchase of fellow Palletline member AKW Group. Macclesfield-based William Kirk is part of Kinaxia’s empire, and Palletline confirmed it was in discussions with the group about how to limit its influence in the pallet network. It is the third Kinaxia subsidiary to be asked to leave the News



network as a result of being owned by Kinaxia. Graham Leitch told MT William Kirk had been asked to leave to limit risk. “Kinaxia is now delivering 7% of our freight; I believe one business that controls more than 7% of a network’s freight is a potential risk. “If that business changes hands, that would leave a significant element of freight Warehousing


for our members to cover.” He added that Palletline is in talks with Kinaxia “about how we can work together to limit that exposure – we are happy to work with it and are discussing how we can limit the risk”. Leitch said Palletline had chosen William Kirk to leave the network because it would redress the balance of freight delivered by Kinaxia-owned




operators “to a level we are comfortable with”. He added that there was also an opportunity to replace William Kirk with another firm operating in the area. The Palletline boss said the network had no plans to ask Lambert Brothers or AKW Group to leave. He declined to identify the firm replacing William Kirk.








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Acquisition boosts expanded group’s presence throughout UK

Gregory attracted to Craib’s Scots focus By Chris Druce

Gregory Distribution (Holdings)’s largest purchase to date, ARR Craib Transport, creates a £200m-plus turnover group, but it was the Scottish haulier’s regional focus that made the deal so attractive. Speaking to MT, John Gregory, MD of Gregory Distribution (pictured left), said the purchase – announced on 1 October – had been in the pipeline since ARR Craib’s chief executive Eddie Anderson appointed a representative to market the business in the fourth quarter of last year. Gregory was instantly interested. “I like its regionality, its strong presence in specialist sectors and its excellent reputation,” he said. He added that the acquisition had a “lot of activity that interfaces with our own”. The group’s previous largest R Swain & Sons has continued Express Freight Services buy, at less than half the size its acquisition spree with the (Birmingham) in June this of ARR Craib, was Framptons purchase of Express Freight year. This is the family firm’s Transport Services in 2015. Services (Birmingham). 10th acquisition since 1999 and The addition of ARR Craib, The acquisition emerged in follows the purchase of which has its headquarters in the company’s annual results, Gatwick Plant in October 2015 Aberdeen and had a turnover which also detail boardroom and Jeffrey’s Haulage in July close to £50m in its latest changes. 2016. published accounts, leaves Although R Swain has In regards the boardroom Gregory Distribution declined to name the acquired changes, MD Paul Kavanagh (Holdings) knocking on the business, accounts filed at left in October 2017 and door of the top 20 largest Companies House show that finance director Ian Chapman operators in the UK, as it became the majority share- in March this year. Both have featured every year in the Kalmar in Ad Tilbury-based Display 66 x 190mm T2 replaced. Stock .qxp_Layout 1 05/10/2018 12:05 Page 1 holder Motor Transport Top 100. been BELLS RING: Tolls on the two Severn bridges are to be axed on 17 December, a fortnight earlier than initially planned. The announcement was made by secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairns at the Conservative Party Conference. He said the move would be worth up to £100m a year to the Welsh economy and would help strengthen the concept of a western powerhouse between major cities in Wales and south-west England such as Cardiff, Newport and Bristol. FTA head of policy for Wales Sally Gilson said the decision will provide a much-needed boost to logistics businesses in the region. “Removal of the tolls has been a long-term policy position for the FTA, with members on both sides of the bridges incurring some of the highest toll charges in the UK just to go about their daily work. Our members spend millions of pounds on the crossings every year, money that can be invested in future-proofing their businesses with initiatives such as staff upskilling, recruitment and purchasing greener vehicles.” RHA chief executive Richard Burnett welcomed the economic benefits for hauliers using the crossings, but flagged up concerns about the increased congestion that could occur.

R Swain buys Express Freight Services

Optimise your operational performance.

However, Gregory pointed out that the group’s main engine room for growth in recent years had been organic, and although the business has its roots in the south-west, it is now a UK-wide concern with depots in Exeter, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham and Doncaster. He added that the group would look to consolidate what it has rather than make further purchases. ARR Craib, which has its headquarters in Aberdeen and operations in Cumbernauld, Stockton and Great Yarmouth, will continue to run as a separate business within the group in the same vein as its jointventure with Hayton Coultard.

Anderson will continue to run the business. ARR Craib was set up 50 years ago serving the paper industry and developed as a supplier to the oil and gas industries. Today it runs the Scottish hub for Palletline and counts the likes of Baxters, Walkers and Brew Dog as customers. Eddie Anderson (pictured right) said: “As two private, like-minded, companies operating in similar sectors it seemed an excellent opportunity for Craib to become part of a larger organisation. We feel comfortable with the arrangement and look forward to Craib prospering beside Gregory.”



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MotorTransport 3

11/10/2018 15:45:11


West Yorkshire council seeks £27m of funding to support businesses upgrade their fleets to Euro-6

Leeds Council finalises its 2020 Clean Air Zone plans By Hayley Pink

Leeds City Council has published its final Clean Air Zone (CAZ) plans, which will be submitted to the government after board approval later this month. The category B CAZ will charge non-Euro-6 HGVs £50 per day to enter the designated central city area. There are no notable vehicle type exemptions for HGV operators, however the council has put in place measures it hopes will support the industry as it prepares for the CAZ. It is to ask the government for a £27m funding to support

local businesses to upgrade their fleets. If approved, the money will come from the government’s £220m Clean Air Fund. A decision is expected on this by the end of the year. Leeds confirmed to MT that approximately £13m of the funding would be allocated to the HGV sector in the form of grants worth up to £16,000, which operators can bid for to upgrade non-compliant vehicles. Such funding was initially earmarked for HGV retrofit systems, but following industry concerns that the technol-

ogy would not be ready in time, the council has extended the scheme. Addressing concerns over the late development of HGV retrofit solutions and overdemand of the Euro-6 market, Leeds has introduced a Lack of Market Capacity exemption. This will allow operators that have placed an order (by a pre-defined date) of a compliant vehicle or retrofit system to benefit from a sunset period until the vehicle or kit arrives. Evidence will be needed of the order being placed and being available within a reasonable time.

The council states: “This is considered appropriately reasonable in these circumstances as the CAZ proposals are not intended to be a revenue-raising mechanism, but are intended as a means of securing compliance with the legal limit value for NO2 in the shortest possible time.” However, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Our members will be on hand to rent or lease compliant HGVs to many local fleets that are struggling to find compliant vehicles. “But it is doubtful whether there will be enough Euro-6

truck capacity to meet every need. The decision to charge hauliers is shortsighted and very frustrating. It is an extra burden on operators who will have to pass costs on to the consumer. “Unlike cars and vans, HGV operators have no option to go electric. Operators will face huge costs in replacing noncompliant vehicles with the latest trucks that meet Euro-6 emission standards – there are no retrofit solutions available at present.” The proposed go live date for the Leeds CAZ is 6 January 2020.

Williams makes his move to Hireco Former Dawsongroup chief executive Mike Williams has joined Hireco as director of contracts. Williams was with Dawsongroup for more than 40 years, before leaving in 2016. He is also an inaugural member of the Motor Transport Hall of Fame. Hireco Group MD James Smith said: “To get Mike on board is a real plus for this business, his relationship with manufacturers is second to none, and what he has achieved over his career with Dawsongroup is unrivalled.”

Halcyon days for former Hargreaves MD Hargreaves Logistics former MD Andrew Wolrich is to work with Ian Elliott, head of Hargreaves’ subsidiary Halcyon Tankers, as a consultant. Wolrich, who launched consultancy business WCL after leaving Hargreaves Logistics last month, will help Elliott develop the business that was launched in July last year. Wolrich said: “We started Halcyon Tankers in July 2017 4 MotorTransport MTR_151018_004.indd 4

and it has gone from nothing to 26 tankers with an annual turnover of £3m.” Elliott is the former MD of Imperial Tankers, which Hargreaves sold to Suttons Group in 2014. “After Hargreaves sold Imperial Tankers, Ian got a lot of calls asking if he would return to the business. We decided there was an appetite out there and so, once we were

out of the non-compete period, we launched Halcyon Tankers,” Elliott said. ■ Wolrich’s departure after eight years at Hargreaves comes after its merger with Hargreaves Service, the group’s coal production and distribution business, earlier this year as part of a wider costcutting strategy. The combined division is overseen by MD John Burns.

MAKE ROOM: Brigade Electronics has officially opened a 24,483sq ft office and warehouse facility in the Questor Estate Industrial Complex in Dartford. The opening follows Brigade recording its highest annual turnover, which passed £42m in the year to 31 January 2018. Applegarth Drive houses the firm’s engineering team and materials, planning and logistics team. It will also act as the company’s main UK and EU warehouse. Brigade Electronics MD Philip Hanson-Abbott said: “We are delighted to be opening a new warehouse. With four times as much space we can continue to expand our product development, engineering and logistics teams to continue to better serve our customers locally and globally.” 15.10.18

11/10/2018 15:40:33

“WE’RE SAVING £200 A WEEK WITH EACH S 450, SO WE’RE QUIDS IN.” “We’ve found other trucks susceptible to fuel consumption variations depending on driver/weather etc, so we’ve recently taken eight new S 450s. The savings are remarkable – approximately £200 a week. We’re finding that our Scania fleet performs well in all circumstances. As a result, we now have another three on order.” Arran Courton, Transport Manager CPT Distribution Ltd.

performance redefined AD_151018__P5.indd 5

11/10/2018 09:21:43


HIGH SPIRITS: Bullet Express has added 12 new DAF XFs and 11 new tri-axle Montracon curtainsider trailers to its fleet. The trucks and trailers are on full-service contract hire agreements with Asset Alliance. Bullet Express MD David McCutcheon said: “Asset Alliance was the clear standout of all the suppliers we approached. It offered us the most comprehensive and cost-effective solution and was honest and straightforward throughout, delivering everything on time and as promised.” Eight of the new DAF 530s are operating out of Prestwick airport. Along with four specialised, aeroplane part carriers, they are working solely on Bullet Express’s contract with Spirit AeroSystems. The remaining vehicles will be used for trunking.

Transport industry mourns the loss of charity fundraiser killed on third cycle challenge

Tragic loss of fundraiser Jayne Gray on cycle ride Tributes have been paid to Jayne Gray who was killed in a road accident last month during a fundraising cycle challenge for logistics charity Transaid in Zambia. Jayne, who was the financial controller of haulage business H&R Gray, a member of the Palletline network, was fatally injured after a collision during the Cycle Zambia Challenge. Another cyclist – support team member Dr Julia Martin – was also seriously injured in the incident. She remains in hospital in Johannesburg but

has been moved from ICU to another ward. The driver of the vehicle involved is in police custody. Investigations into the collision are ongoing. Jayne, 49, was an enthusiastic people manager at the family-owned company, which has been based at the Bandeath Industrial Estate near Stirling since 2001. Palletline MD Graham Leitch said: “H&R Gray has been a valued member of Palletline covering the FK postcodes since February 2015,

and we are deeply saddened by the news of Jayne’s death. Palletline would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Gray family and everyone involved in the business.” In a statement Transaid said: “It is with great shock and immense sadness that we share news of the loss of one of our fundraisers. Jayne leaves husband Robin, and two sons. We are supporting Jayne’s family and would ask you to please respect their privacy at this time of grief.” Transaid chairwoman Jo

Godsmark, a friend of Jayne’s and her roommate on the trip, said: “We are all in deep shock at what has happened and are struggling to come to terms with the loss of such a vibrant, funny and courageous woman as Jayne.” The Gray family has requested that those wishing to show their respects donate to Transaid to support the charity and its work. If anybody wishes to donate, please go to the Jayne Gray Cycle Zambia page at

Welcome fuel duty freeze FairFuelUK (FFUK) has welcomed the news that fuel duty will be frozen for the ninth consecutive year. Prime minister Theresa May confirmed the freeze in her speech to the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month. There had been fears the duty would be increased in the budget on 29 October. FFUK founder Howard Cox said: “Those just about managing will breathe a sigh of relief that duty is frozen for the ninth year. It’s time the government works with the 37 million drivers to put together a strategic road transport plan that motivates tax payers, the economy and the environment.” The UK has one of the highest duties on fuel in the world at 57.95ppl, despite the freeze, said FFUK.

Amazon refutes claims of unsafe health and safety practices Amazon has rejected claims that it has a poor health and safety record after the publication of figures showing that

6 MotorTransport MTR_151018_006.indd 6

more than 440 serious incidents occurred at its warehouses in the 2015/16 period. HSE investigation reports,

obtained by the GMB union under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed fractures, contusions and head

injuries to staff, the union has claimed. In one incident, a worker in Leicestershire suffered internal bruising after being knocked down and wedged under an HGV. The report said the unsafe driving manoeuvre leading to the accident was “not an uncommon practice”. Also, a Sunderland courierdriver complained that Amazon and its contractors “create an environment of fear to speak out in matters that risk our lives and the lives of the general public on the road”. In Peterborough a member of the public said delivery drivers had been forced to wait for

eight to 10 hours in an unheated room. However, a statement from Amazon said the HSE figures showed the company has 43% fewer injuries on average than other UK transport and warehousing companies. It added: “Amazon is a safe place to work and reports to the contrary are wrong. Amazon has created more than 25,000 jobs with good pay and benefits across Britain and we are proud of the work it does on behalf of customers every day. Safety is one of the reasons LinkedIn recently ranked Amazon number seven on its UK top companies list.” 15.10.18

11/10/2018 11:13:36

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11/10/2018 09:23:25

Results round-up

Dumfries-based haulier says ‘challenging’ conditions behind second year of losses

Currie Solutions hit by southbound squeeze By Carol Millett

Fierce competition for southbound loads combined with rising operating costs saw Currie Solutions deliver a pretax loss for the second consecutive year.

Grocontinental is growing nicely Grocontinental increased pre-tax profit by almost 13% to £5.2m just before being snapped up by Dutch firm AGRO Merchants Group in December 2017. The latest figures for the Shropshire cold storage and logistics business showed that when calculated pro rata for the 12 months to November 2017, it reported a turnover of £36m, up 6.8% on the year before. Pre-tax profit increased 12.7% from £4.6m in 2016. Grocontinental’s annual report said the purchase by AGRO “gives the company a strong and sustainable structure in which to grow and prosper in the future”. 8 MotorTransport MTR_151018_008.indd 8

The Dumfries-based haulier, which has a fleet of more than 250 trucks and 500 trailers, posted a pre-tax loss of £130,900 (2016: loss of £148,770) in the year to 31 December 2017. Turnover

fell to £39.9m (2016: £40.1m). In its annual filing to Companies House, the company said trading conditions in the UK remained challenging across all sectors, adding that the Scottish market was “extremely price sensitive”. This forced the company to reduce pricing in some cases to retain business “due to the ongoing fierce competition for southbound loads”. It added: “Rising operating costs are squeezing margins further, which is exacerbated by the ongoing driver shortage in the UK.” The report said the company’s decision to rebrand from Currie European Transport to Currie Solutions during the period was necessary to remove the “general perception” of the firm as a European haulier. It added: “We continue to

operate strong European services but UK domestic freight services now account for approaching 70% of turnover, so it has been necessary and important to get that message across to the market.” Currie Solutions MD Stephen Turner told MT that the company was responding to very testing market conditions in 2018 by focusing on the development of new and existing customer relationships, as well as by improving services in its UK and European markets. Turner said: “Without doubt the driver shortage situation has worsened this year and is now the single biggest inhibitor to growth. “Despite having fuel escalators in place, the continual upwards movement in fuel pricing is obviously having an effect.”

Elddis takes a profit hit Investment in its fleet and IT systems meant that Elddis Transport needed to restate its 2016 accounts due to an “adjustment” in the way its hire purchase interest was reported. In the year to 31 December 2017 the County Durham operator revealed a 5% rise in turnover to £26.9m (2016: £25.6m). However pre-tax profit fell to £479,000 (2016: £777,000) in the period. Speaking to MT, MD Nigel Cook, said: “Pre-tax profit was down due to the level of investment in the year in our fleet – and because of an adjustment in the way we reported our hire purchase interest in 2016 it had to be restated – otherwise our pre-tax profit would have been more or less like-for-like on the previous year. “What is significant is that our EBITDA has improved year on year.” During the year the company bought 26 MercedesBenz trucks and 30 trailers and started the roll-out of an IT project to equip all its drivers with tablet computers.

DX Group on road to recovery as turnaround strategy kicks in DX Group has declared it is on the road to recovery, after trimming its annual losses by more than £60m. Releasing its results for the year to 30 June 2018, the company made a loss after exceptional items of £19.9m compared with £82.3m in the same period a year ago. Turnover was up slightly at £299.5m (2017: £291.9m). As confirmed in a trading statement in July, the company’s debt position was better than previously anticipated following a refinancing exercise in May, standing at £1.1m (2017: £19.1m). The bulk of the £5.7m of exceptional items related to the company’s decision to end the previous management’s OneDx strategy and continue to operate its busi-

ness as two divisions, DX Freight and DX Express. This saw the end and subsequent reworking of IT systems, which were to have merged under the OneDX plan. DX Freight, previously Nightfreight, was singled out earlier this year as needing urgent action to return it to health. It made an EBITDA loss of £14.2m from a turnover of £137.8m in the reporting period. DX Express, its mail and parcels division, fared better and made an EBITDA profit of £29.3m in the year from turnover of £161.7m. DX Group chairman Ron Series said: “This year has been one of significant change for DX. The company is now on the road to recovery, as our turnaround initiatives start to gain traction.” 15.10.18

11/10/2018 11:45:49

News extra

Calor can offer cleaner options for city hauliers Lynne Goulding

Bob Moran

Alex Williams

Andy Eastlake

The definitive event for urban operators returns to London

How we are going to get freight into cities By Hayley Pink

A line-up of top speakers will be tackling urban logistics challenges and sharing best practice when they take to the stage at London’s Alexandra Palace on 6 November. Opening this year’s expo with an exciting glimpse into the megacity trends shaping the future of deliveries in urban spaces will be Frost & Sullivan’s Visionary Innovation Group lead Lynne Goulding. She will explain how a changing retail landscape, shifting customer expectations, connectivity and convergence, digital transformation and new business models present new opportunities for operators, as well as complex challenges. Following this will be the Emission Control session dedicated to debating the effect of local and nationalised air quality regulation on the logistics sector. Bob Moran, Df T deputy director, head of environment strategy, will look at how the freight sector fits into the government’s aim to transition

to a zero-emission transport sector. Natalie Chapman, the FTA’s head of urban policy, will examine the impact on operators of the emerging raft of national and local emissions regulations in towns and cities. Alternative fuel trends and retrofit will also come into scope with presentations from Low Carbon Vehicle partnership MD Andy Eastlake and global vehicle expert Tim Cambell. Session two gives delegates a glimpse into the real-world trials and new business models being used today by leading operators such as DHL Supply Chain, Veolia, the John Lewis Partnership, University of Birmingham and the Thames Tideway team. The final session of the day will see TfL’s director of city planning Alex Williams set

out London’s future vision for freight, as well as exciting infrastructure topics debated by property group Savills, Calor, DPD UK and the Smart Electric Urban Logistics project. Also new to this year’s Freight in the City Expo is the Knowledge Zone stage taking place in the exhibition hall, which brings together a series of quick-fire compliance and innovation talks throughout the day. In addition, a Compliance Zone has been created so delegates can talk to experts from the FTA, the Metropolitan Police, Low CVP, Energy Saving Trust, TfL and DVSA for a range of advice on urban logistics challenges. This year’s event sees more than 70 exhibitors bringing along the latest city trucks, vans, fleet equipment, compliance aids, as well as fuels, leasing and finance advice. l For a full list of exhibitors and conference speakers and to book your free place at Freight in the City Expo, go to:

I AM THE MASTER NOW: The Master ZE from Renault Trucks will be making its UK debut at Freight in the City. The electric van is aimed at operators requiring a zeroemission vehicle for working in urban environments. It is available to order through Renault Trucks’ Ready for Business range in six variants: four panel vans and two platform cabs. The manufacturer said it provides a payload of up to 1,128kg, a real-world operating range of 120km and can be fully charged in six hours. Its load volume of up to 13cu m is the same as a conventional diesel Renault Master. 15.10.18

MTR_151018_009.indd 9

Calor will be promoting its alternative fuel offering for freight operators looking to meet the ambitions of the government’s ‘Road to zero’ strategy at the expo. The company will be highlighting how renewable liquefied petroleum gas (BioLPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) can offer a low-carbon, cleaner option for hauliers operating in urban areas. Calor is the first fuel provider in the UK to offer BioLPG to the freight industry. A renewable fuel created from ethically sourced feedstocks, BioLPG is chemically identical to LPG. The new fuel is a drop-in solution for hauliers already powering vehicles with LPG through dual-fuel technology, with no requirement to alter any equipment or supply infrastructure. LNG, meanwhile, can offer benefits for both long-haul and urban operations such as CO2

reduction, ease of storage and quieter vehicle running, according to Calor. The company operates a national network of LNG refuelling stations, with sites in Lockerbie, Castleford, in West Yorkshire, Lymm, in Warrington, Grantham, Wolverhampton and Bristol. Transport specialist at Calor Mark Gilks said: “Our alternative gas solutions emit substantially less CO2 emissions than conventional fuels such as diesel, while also producing significantly less harmful particulates, like NOx. “However, it’s not just the fuels’ green credentials that is driving growth in the freight market. Competitively priced and efficient, the ease of switching from diesel to gas is making BioLPG and LNG attractive propositions to UK hauliers.” Calor is the official seminar sponsor for this year’s Freight in the City Expo and can be found on stand SO1.

Volvo to debut its FE-Electric Volvo Trucks is using next month’s event to give its FE-Electric, which is designed for zero-emission refuse collection and urban distribution duties, its UK debut. The FE-Electric 26/27-tonne chassis cab, launched this summer in Hamburg, Germany, has a range of up to 200km and produces zero-exhaust emissions. Compared with a conventional refuse collection vehicle, which Volvo said can emit approximately 31,300kg of CO2 in exhaust emissions a year, the FE-Electric emits nothing and lasts between eight to 10 hours. Its near-silent driveline also makes it suitable for carrying out deliveries or refuse collections in the early mornings or late at night in built-up areas, helping to reduce congestion at peak traffic times. Volvo’s LNG FH will also be on display. MotorTransport 9

11/10/2018 16:30:05

Focus: Warehousing

GOING FOR GROWTH: Dachser is to occupy a newly-completed speculative warehouse on the Brackmills Industrial Estate in Northampton to support its UK growth. The German-owned logistics group has signed a 10-year lease on the 172,000sq ft building, known as C172, which is next to its UK headquarters and regional branch office. The building was developed by Cabot Properties and has access to the M1 via the A45, which links Brackmills to the motorway. Dachser UK MD Mark Rollinson said: “Our Northampton operations continue to be a key component of our UK operation and contributed hugely to the 16% growth we enjoyed in the UK over the past year and we are pleased to now be taking additional space on the estate.” Other occupiers at Brackmills include DHL, ASDA, Great Bear, Howdens and Wickes.

Truckstop plans welcomed New planning guidelines that encourage truck parking areas to be included in warehouse developments have been broadly welcomed by the warehousing sector and facilities are now being included in a number of proposed schemes. The government’s revised ‘National planning policy framework’, introduced in the summer, states that the provision of parking should be considered in new or expanded DCs if there are inadequate existing facilities nearby, so as to “reduce the risk of parking in locations that lack proper facilities or could cause a nuisance”. De velop er Prologis welcomed the news and plans 300 HGV spaces and driver welfare facilities at its RFI DIRFT development near Daventry and 50 HGV spaces and welfare provisions at its Marston Gate development near Milton Keynes. Both will be constructed as part of the next phases of development at these sites. Robin Woodbridge, head of Midlands and north markets at Prologis (pictured right),

said: “We have been considering this for a number of years and we’ve listened closely to our customers and members of the communities in which our parks sit.” However, he believes that truckstops are only viable on larger distribution parks. “It’s important to remember that these facilities require sufficient space and a full-time security presence if they are to provide a safe environment for drivers and prevent local-

ised crime as a result of criminals targeting parked vehicles,” he said. Despite their benefits, the cost of developing and maintaining truckstops at distribution parks has the potential to push up rents and service charges for occupiers – again making them more appropriate on larger developments. Knight Frank partner Charles Binks said: “There could be an effect on rents but on bigger schemes you can

spread that across several warehouses.” Other locations are also offering new truck parking. At DP World London Gateway, Hireco opened a facility for 170

trucks in September, which will eventually offer a restaurant, showers, toilets, Wi-Fi, vending machines and CCTV. Cushman & Wakefield partner Simon Lloyd believes the development of truckstops could be stimulated in future by insurance companies requiring hauliers to use them. “The increased use of electric vehicles could provide more of an incentive if the parks can provide overnight charging,” he said.

Hines eyes UK logistics expansion with Chancerygate joint venture International real estate firm Hines has formed a joint venture with UK developer Chancerygate to create urban logistics warehouses. The 50/50 enterprise is intended to capitalise on the demand for last-mile facilities and owner-occupied units. So far three as-yet-unnamed sites have been secured as part of an initial £100m investment – further funding will become available as opportunities arise. Texas-based Hines operates in 24 countries and until now has focused on the office, retail 10 MotorTransport MTR_151018_010.indd 10

and student accommodation sectors in the UK. Greg Cooper, director of industrial and logistics in Hines’ London office, said: “While clearly a competitive market, the e-commerce boom shows no sign of abating and demand for highquality, well-located warehouses remains strong.” Chancerygate has 2 million sq ft of space under construction or in the pipeline, including its 284,000sq ft Novus development in Knutsford (pictured), which received planning consent last month. 15.10.18

08/10/2018 16:12:08


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11/10/2018 09:25:36 05/10/2018 15:26


Local roads investment is paramount


Mike Cherry National chairman Federation of Small Businesses

etting stuck in traffic can be costly in terms of money and time for small businesses, as well as being a major frustration. We know that small businesses are overwhelmingly reliant on roads, with nine in 10 firms placing high value on the network. Rural businesses are even more likely to rely on roads due to reduced access to other transport links. Research by the Federation of Small Businesses found that 45% of small firms identify congestion on local roads as their top transport concern, which increased to 57% for businesses in urban areas. Our research also found that 31% said frequent roadworks are a major issue affecting their business. Particularly aggravating for them was the length of time taken to complete roadworks. Although these are accepted as necessary to maintain the quality of the road network, they can cause disruption and delay to businesses. Dissatisfaction with roadworks can be exacerbated if works are not adequately advertised,

along with a perception that the quality of road repairs is often poor, leading to costly and disruptive rework, leading to further disruption. That’s why the roll out of projects such as lane rental schemes, which, if used properly, are a positive step in getting traffic – and therefore productivity – moving again. Ultimately though, it is further investment in both roads and public transport that holds the solution to congestion. Government must prioritise infrastructure investment in local and rural road networks – alongside big projects on the Strategic Road Network, where the lion’s share of money is often spent. Most small firms rely on local roads and public transport, so there is a strong case to prioritise investment in these smaller projects, which will help to alleviate congestion and bottlenecks. Protecting transport spending, better strategic planning, and investing in the local road network and public transport will all help support UK small businesses.


Use cartel fines to drive low carbon technology


Steve Hobson Editor Motor Transport

his month sees two important, yet seemingly unrelated, events take place – the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) will close the door to further claims over the truck cartel and the chancellor will deliver his autumn budget. At least three claims have been submitted to the CAT claiming damages as a result of the cartel operated by most of the major European truck makers between 1997 and 2011, and next year the tribunal will decide which one to proceed with. Operators will then be able to join the successful claim and seek damages expected to be around £7,000 per truck purchased in that 14-year period. All the big OEMs except Scania have admitted the offence and been fined £3bn by the European Commission. But compensation payments are likely to significantly exceed this sum. The budget will be significant for truck operators because the government will decide whether to maintain the five-year discount on fuel duty payable on natural gas used as a road fuel

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compared with diesel. The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership would like to see the differential changed to encourage the take up of biofuels as the carbon emissions from Euro-6 fossil gas and diesel are pretty similar. So what is the connection? This week we have had dire warnings of what will happen to the global climate if we do not drastically reduce our carbon emissions. Massive investment is going to be needed to decarbonise essential road freight transport in the next two decades. So why not channel the cartel fines and any compensation into investment in low carbon technology and infrastructure rather than the fines disappearing into the EC coffers and any compensation just being passed onto customers in yet another rate cut?

The newspaper for transport operators

To contact us: Tel: 020 8912 +4 digits or email: Editor Steve Hobson 2161 Editor-in-chief Christopher Walton 2163 Group news editor Chris Druce 2158 Reporter Kylie Noble2167 Group technical editor Colin Barnett 2141 Senior compliance editor Roger Brown 2168 Urban editor Hayley Pink 2165 Group production editor Clare Goldie 2174 Deputy production editor Jo Saunders 2173 Key account manager Andrew Smith 07771 885874 Display telesales Barnaby Goodman-Smith 2128 Event sales Richard Bennett 07889 823060 Tim George 0755 7677758 Classified and recruitment advertising Head of sales operations Julie McInally 2122 Sales director Vic Bunby 2121 Head of marketing Jane Casling 2133 Head of events/MT Awards Stephen Pobjoy 2135 Managing director Andy Salter 2171 Editorial office Road Transport Media, Sixth Floor, Chancery House, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1JB 020 8912 2170 Free copies MT is available free to specified licensed operators under the publisher’s terms of control. For details, email, or call 01772 426705 Subscriptions Tel 0330 333 9544 Quadrant Subscription Services, Rockwood House, Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3DH Rates UK £135/year. Europe £163/ year. RoW £163/year. Cheques made payable to Motor Transport. Apply online at Registered at the Post Office as a newspaper Published by DVV Media International Ltd © 2018 DVV Media International Ltd ISSN 0027-206 X

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11/10/2018 16:24:42

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11/10/2018 09:29:05

Alternative fuels

You pays your money and takes your choice

Natural gas-powered vehicles have proved themselves just as reliable, driveable and easy to maintain as their diesel equivalents and they can also be quieter. Steve Hobson looks at the questions that need to be considered when deciding which fuel is the better option


he arrival of high horsepower natural gas tractor units from some of the major truck manufacturers, the steady expansion of the UK’s gas refuelling network and a substantial discount on the fuel duty levied on gas now mean more operators are beginning to take a serious look at gas power. The cheaper fuel means the payback period on a gas truck – even with a higher purchase price – can be as little as three years, well within the five-year period the government has pledged to maintain the duty differential. So depending on an operator’s annual mileage and access to refuelling stations, natural gas (methane) stacks up financially, and gas vehicles have proven to be just as reliable, driveable and easy to maintain as their diesel equivalents. They can also be quieter, useful particularly for urban and out-of-hours deliveries.

How do fuels compare?

But how green are they? Manufacturers state natural gas produces up to 20% fewer harmful emissions than Euro-6 diesel, claims that have been questioned by some observers. Leaving aside renewable biogas and biodiesel, which in theory are both zero carbon emissions, how does conventional gas stack up against diesel in terms of the key pollutants CO2, NOx and particulates? Andy Eastlake (pictured right) is MD of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), a “public-private partnership

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working to accelerate a sustainable shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels”, which has carried out extensive research into the environmental impact of gas trucks and buses. The chemical formula for methane is CH4 while for diesel it is C12H24, so for a given energy output methane produces less carbon. “Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon fuel and has the minimum amount of carbon in the fuel compared with regular diesel,” says Eastlake. “If you’ve got a certain amount of energy, you will get less carbon when you burn methane than when burning diesel. “The challenge is that a spark-ignition gas engine is not as efficient as a compressionignition diesel engine, so the dedicated gas vehicles don’t have the same level of efficiency converting the energy in the fuel into energy at the crankshaft. “The one that’s coming on to the road now is high-pressure diesel injection or HPDI – the Volvo solution – which is effectively dual-fuel. The principle is that it should provide the benefits of diesel engine efficiency with lowercarbon gas fuel. There is very limited data so far on HPDI, but it is complex to sort out the after-treatment with both diesel and gas.” The exhaust after-treatment for diesel Euro-6 trucks is not exactly simple, with most manufacturers combining SCR and EGR with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to achieve the required very low NOx and particulate emissions. But natural gas has its own problems as methane is 30 times worse than CO2 in terms of global warming, so any unburnt gas escaping down the exhaust has to be removed by a catalyst. “If you get any methane coming through the engine unburnt, it’s quite a difficult molecule to catalyse,” says Eastlake. “A high-temperature catalyst is needed and it’s not as simple as it is to oxidise diesel particulates. You need a very sophisticated aftertreatment system and that will have been one of the main areas that Volvo was working on.” When comparing CO2 emissions, the proper measure should

be well-to-wheel, the total emissions produced in extracting, transporting and burning the fuel. This is a complicated equation, especially as gas can be used either as a liquid (LNG) cooled to -161C, or as a gas (CNG) compressed to around 250 bar. “With diesel, it has to be got out of the ground, refined and transported, so a broad rule of thumb is that for every 100 megajoules you get out of the ground, only 86 or 85 of those are available as energy for the truck,” says Eastlake. “One of the interesting things about gas is that there are lots of different potential power losses. It requires quite a lot of energy to liquefy it, but it can be transported far more efficiently because as a liquid it is much more dense. “There is also energy consumption in compressing gas, so the creative thing to do is tap into the high-pressure gas grid. Around the UK, we’ve got a very good gas network that’s high pressure in certain places and then drops down to low pressure for domestic use. If you’re trying to take that low pressure gas and compress it up to 250 bar, quite a lot of energy is required. If you can tap into the high-pressure gas main that’s an efficient way of running single-stage compressors.” While a lot of natural gas still arrives in the UK by pipeline from the North Sea, increasing volumes are being shipped in by LNG ships from much further afield. At present there are limited facilities to take LNG direct from the import terminal to road vehicle fuelling stations, so much of the LNG is regasified and put into the gas main network. “That is bonkers,” says Eastlake. “We don't want to be taking LNG, vaporising it, putting it into the grid, and then either re-liquefying or compressing it. Certainly, you don’t want to liquefy it again because that doesn’t make it efficient at all. “But there is an awful lot of liquid diesel and gasoline being shipped around the country in road tankers. The gas and electricity networks are pretty efficient at transmitting energy around the country.”

Which fuel is cleaner?

So a well-to-tank comparison of the carbon intensity of gas and diesel is indeed complicated, but once the fuel is in the vehicle, which is cleaner? The LowCVP published a report last year ‘Emissions testing of gas-powered commercial vehicles’, summarising the results of tests 15.10.18

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carried out on behalf of the DfT. “We tried to do as fair a comparison as we could between the diesel and the gas vehicles,” says Eastlake. “In terms of the greenhouse gases, we found some benefits and some negatives. It’s touch and go depending on what you’re looking at, plus or minus 5% to 10%. There’s no reason not to choose gas, but there’s limited reason to choose it because you’re not making a huge carbon saving.

Which is worse on emissions?

“The other key question was around the airquality pollutants [NOx and particulates]. If you go back a generation, to a Euro-5 vehicle running on gas, the gas is a cleaner-burning molecule so it starts out cleaner than diesel. But Euro-6 technology has completely changed the game and has massively cleaned up the exhaust of diesel vehicles. With Euro-6, our position is that there is nothing much to call between gas and diesel in terms of emissions of NOx or particulates. “They’re both incredibly clean.” Euro-6 diesel engines using AdBlue SCR after-treatment do, however, produce small amounts of another greenhouse gas – nitrous oxide (N2O) – but how big a problem this might be needs more research. “We have seen some N2O emissions from trucks,” says Eastlake. “We estimated it was affecting the overall greenhouse gas by a couple of percent. In the worst case it can be a 10% effect on greenhouse gas emissions.” The potential flaw with Euro-6 diesel engines is the possibility of unscrupulous operators defeating or bypassing the AdBlue system, which would lead to a significant increase in emissions. “You can’t do that with gas because it uses a passive three-way catalyst. It’s still very possible to make a diesel engine run so the emissions treatment doesn’t work,” says Eastlake. “There are all sorts of ways of making them dirty if you so desire.” But if a Euro-6 diesel exhaust after-treatment system is working as it should, then gas could actually emit more pollutants. “The DPF is very effective in the removal of particulates,” says Eastlake. “Gas engines arguably produce more emissions of the ultra-fine particulates because they don’t have a trap on


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them. Having said that, when Euro-6 DPFs regenerate, you can get some emissions but hopefully that is quite rare and well controlled. “Where there is a challenge is extreme applications of diesel engines such as refuse collection vehicles. That is a really tough cycle for diesel vehicles. You’re running at about 2mpg and exhaust temperatures are really low – that's one of the areas where gas would work, or better still electrification. But getting the diesel aftertreatment to work can be a real struggle.” Gas vehicles work particularly well in longhaul, high-load applications, which is why the 6x2 high horsepower tractors coming from IVECO and Volvo are so eagerly awaited in the UK. “That’s where the efficiency losses are minimised,” says Eastlake. “At low speeds, it’s more of a challenge for a gas engine to perform. In a city bus, the gas engine is actually putting out more CO2 than the diesel, whereas on long haul they come into their own. Also, the economics make sense if you’re using a lot of fuel because gas is taxed less at the moment.” The current tax differential on gas has been justified because of the claims for its environmental credentials, and Eastlake warns that the dash for gas could be halted if the government takes a fresh look at the facts on emissions. “There’s a genuine question being raised and that duty differential is up for review this year,” he says. “We’re waiting for the latest evidence because we tested some vehicles probably two years ago and it was a close call between gas and diesel. We’ve just started doing some testing on the latest generation of gas vehicles from IVECO, Volvo and Scania. “The higher-power models have had another couple of years’ development and we’re expecting those to be better again. We’re going to run the tests and do a direct comparison with the latest diesel vehicles because diesel isn’t standing still either.”

Instead of giving fossil-based natural gas a leg up over diesel, Eastlake would rather see more incentives for the take-up of biofuels. “We would like to see more differentiation of lower-carbon fuels,” he argues. “At the moment, for the operator, there is no financial benefit in running a biofuel over a fossil fuel. There’s nothing encouraging the operators to look at bio-methane.” As part of this equation, the government also needs to level the playing field between the renewable transport fuel obligation and the renewable heat obligation, as currently it is more financially beneficial for producers of biogas to put it into the grid to heat homes than sell it for transport fuel.

Where should this gas be used?

“One of the things the government needs to get clear in its head is where it wants to use this valuable renewable gas,” says Eastlake. “If you want it in transport, we need to make that more attractive than heating buildings. Arguably, they’re both equally good for the environment because they’re just replacing fossil gas. “The question is: what’s going to encourage more renewables to come to the market? Within the ‘Road to zero’ [the government’s low emissions transport strategy], there’s a clear upward trajectory for renewable fuel in our transport sector. I think we will struggle to push up the blends of biofuel in retail diesel, but in depotbased heavy-duty operations we could go to some more sophisticated bio-blends. “I’m certainly not an advocate of putting big batteries in trucks. You’d end up with no payload and a massive amount of embedded carbon in building those batteries. There are discussions about electrifying highways and we will certainly see more electrification of city centre vehicles. But if you're trunking up and down the motorway, a diesel or gas engine is a pretty efficient way of covering that distance.” So, if Eastlake were a haulier about to invest in a new fleet of heavy-duty tractor units, would he go for gas or stick with diesel? “I wouldn’t want to call it,” he admits. Different fleets have different views and much depends on access to refuelling sites. The key unknown is whether we’re going to protect the current duty differential. Right now, I’d probably sit on my hands until the budget.” ■ MotorTransport 17

08/10/2018 16:10:04

Driver CPC

Training for life


perators and training providers would welcome a review of the Driver CPC once the UK leaves the EU, with mandatory training, as well half-day and online courses, popular among companies. With Brexit looming and no suggestion that the Driver CPC will be unceremoniously dumped, an overhaul of some of the current requirements would be widely welcomed. Sharyn Turner, driver training manager at Turners (Soham), says: “I think that the ability to do half-day courses without the need to commence the second module within 24 hours of the first one ending could be an advantage. “As operators often have difficulty freeing drivers up for a full day due to customer demands, this could be useful as a half-day module could be tacked onto a shorter shift. “The current requirement to complete the second 3.5-hour module on day two makes this difficult to manage as, in this industry, a number of things can go wrong preventing the driver from completing two consecutive days of Driver CPC training.” Fowler Welch says it would support a move to a minimum amount of mandatory training per year, rather than measuring it by total training hours over a five-year period. Fowler Welch chief operating officer John Kerrigan says: “We have come across drivers who at interview stage tell us they haven’t done any training in the prior four years, but then have sat through the same course five times in a row over a short period to hit their ‘total hours in the last five years’ criteria – this is essentially just a cost for those individuals and not a value-adding development as intended with the original scheme. “We have also had first-hand experience of drivers who have gone over retirement age, but want to still drive occasionally on a causal basis and were medically fit to do so. “They didn’t, however, want to go through

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Brexit of some sort is still on the cards, but the Driver CPC is not going anywhere soon. Is there scope to make changes to the training requirement in the future? Chris Tindall reports any training or development at that stage of their life, especially for only casual or occasional driving, so have chosen not to drive anymore. “With the pressure we experience regarding the availability of professional drivers, it is unfortunate if there are good drivers who want to drive, but choose not to for these reasons and the rules around casual or occasional drivers perhaps could be reviewed.”

Box ticking exercise

The RTITB says the current five-year window makes ‘continuous’ professional development difficult to achieve. MD Laura Nelson says: “Consider the fact that, typically, drivers and employers are prone to leaving Driver CPC training to the last minute, often completing 35 hours in one week. “In reality, given the correct timing, a driver could adopt this approach and go almost 10 years without completing any continuous professional development. In this situation the whole thing becomes nothing more than a box-ticking exercise that achieves very little in the way of development. A more robust approach would see drivers complete a minimum of 30 hours every five years, split into a minimum of six hours a year. This would make for a more realistic and accessible training proposal, which, in turn, would aid driver and employer buy-in.” The industry’s main trade associations have differing opinions on any future changes to training. The FTA says its members would welcome greater flexibility, but James Firth, FTA head of road freight regulation policy, cautions: “Smaller packets of training delivery

does create a quality control challenge for the DVSA.” Mark Taylor, RHA head of learning and development, says: “A more flexible approach to training would be welcomed. The introduction of e-learning training programmes, for example, would provide hauliers with the flexibility to provide training for drivers while still delivering relevant and useful content to improve knowledge and standards. “Drivers should be encouraged to gain additional skills that would credit them with the required Driver CPC training while at the same time providing valuable qualifications, for example transport manager CPC and ADR.” The idea of online training is supported by Sean Pargeter, owner and director of EP Training, who says it runs a lot of courses that could be moved online, but Turner doesn’t agree. “This could be open to abuse, plus I think it’s really important for drivers to participate in a course and receive knowledge directly from an experienced trainer,” she says. “And of course, there’s a huge benefit to hearing other drivers’ opinions and having the

TRAINED TO GAIN Turners (Soham) gained Driver CPC approval in April 2010, mainly because it has a large workforce so taking training in house seemed like the right decision. Driver training manager Sharyn Turner says the move gave it “flexibility and more control over the training that we provide to our drivers. We have been able to tailor the training to our business requirements, which means the training we complete is relevant to our drivers”. But however much you try to take control of employees’ training requirements, there will always be issues that cannot be controlled. “As an operator that does its utmost to ensure that everything is done by the book and to the highest standard, it can be frustrating to know there are operators cutting corners,” Turner says. “As an example, we have encountered drivers who come to work for us and have certificates from previous CPC training but when we check them out, we find that the courses have not been registered. “I am sure that JAUPT has made steps to tighten things up from the early days and I believe that a lot of unscrupulous operators have been weeded out of the system, which is good.” 15.10.18

09/10/2018 11:00:02

opportunity to participate in group discussions.” Scania services director Mark Grant says: “Online courses are an option, and could be used in some parts. However, strict controls would need to be in place to ensure authenticity of the driver and so on. “We believe that face-to-face training is the best medium for good training.”

Changing perceptions

Pargeter believes there are still huge reservations in the industry about the Driver CPC, especially among drivers, but thinks these notes of discontent are increasingly falling into a minority. “I think perceptions are changing, slowly,” he says. “The ones who said ‘you can’t teach me anything’ have retired.” So Driver CPC is here to stay, but what form it will take over the next few years is difficult to anticipate. As Nelson concludes: “Brexit will not change Driver CPC in the short term, and in the long term, why should it? Periodic training has a place in our industry and it has a benefit. “Brexit might present an opportunity to shape the current system into something more effective and more beneficial to drivers and employers.” ■ 15.10.18

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DASH TO THE LINE The industry is now less than a year away from the September 2019 deadline, but by all accounts many operators are again leaving it until the last minute . The RHA’s Mark Taylor says: “DVSA statistics suggest that the situation regarding drivers facing the September 2019 deadline to have acquired 35 hours of periodic Driver CPC training is worse than at the same point in 2013. 60% of the required training was carried out in the 12 months before September 2014. “Even offsetting the inevitable increase in new drivers who’ve passed the initial Driver CPC as part of their licence acquisition training, the statistics suggest that there is still 75% of the required training to complete. This represents a huge amount of training that has to be delivered between now and September 2019, so operators and drivers alike need to plan their training now.” Sharyn Turner at Turners (Soham), which does most of its training in-house, believes companies are leaving the training requirement to the last minute. “It is not unusual for us to take on new drivers who have not amassed enough periodic training,” she says. Sean Pargeter at EP Training is more explicit. “It will go crazy next year,” he says. “I would say 3% of our customers are proactive, doing one day’s training a year. Bear in mind, the bus guys got an extra year’s grace, so it’s going to be busy. “We will be able to cope, we will muddle through, because we are not a one-trick pony. If we are finding it a bit quiet at the moment then I can’t imagine how the ones that set up just for Driver CPC are coping.” But it won’t be just a training bottleneck that will give operators a headache. The RHA’s Taylor points out: “Driver CPC can be relatively inexpensive compared with other types of training and the market seems to have remained relatively flat over the past five years. However, as demand for training increases as we approach the 2019 deadline, price increases are inevitable if left to the last minute, so it’s wise to plan training now.” MotorTransport 19

09/10/2018 11:00:28

MT Awards 2018 winner profile Fleet Van Operator of the Year

From postie to van driver Royal Mail had to move with the times, which meant upgrading its traditional walking deliveries to vans – a move that helped it win Fleet Van Operator at this year’s awards ceremony

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hen you think about it, delivering letters and parcels of a wide variety of weights and sizes to more than 30 million addresses across the UK, six days a week, is an astonishing ask for any commercial vehicle fleet. But Royal Mail has done just that – in one way or another – since Henry VIII was won the throne. More recently though Royal Mail has changed the nature of its operations. That means that more and more people are being recruited as posties, not to be chased by the dog with a satchel over their shoulder, but as van drivers. Lugging around all those parcels including items such as clothes and electronics from all those next-day delivery online retailers puts a bit of a strain on your average post man or woman in the way that the gas bill and a card from your Nan never did before. To that end, Royal Mail had to modernise.

Paul Gatti, director at Royal Mail Fleet, explained: “The method that we use to deliver mail has changed. Go back seven years and we were looking at how you take the weight off the postie’s shoulder. There were lots of health and safety implications around that. Today the postie is self-sufficient. They take out all the mail they would need in a van, with a colleague. They park and loop. It changes because of safety, security, mail types, volumes types. And during that time we increased our van fleet by 16,000 to facilitate the new operating method.”

Driving training

Adding that many vans, and by necessity drivers, to the largest CV fleet in the country is by no means an easy task. It’s not just the driver training and recruitment required to keep the fleet moving, but the maintenance to support that number of vehicles. Vehicle compliance and availability is at the core of Royal Mail Fleet. KPIs include a 95% plus MoT pass rate and 97.7% vehicle availability. Grahame Bennett, head of fleet engineering, said the van fleet must have a different approach to the O-licensed fleet when it comes to maintenance. “Every site with more than five vehicles is inspected. We do it to follow our own rules and procedures, as well as what legislation dictates. We do this from operation sites and maintenance workshops. We do our own maintenance, so it has huge implications. We measure the time the vehicle is off the road and that it’s back as soon as possible.” Its van fleet has also endeavoured to innovate when it comes to safety, and has worked with manufacturers to address the wear and tear on each vehicle. For example, it used its telematics to measure the number of times the ignition was turned on/off and how many times the handbrake was applied. One measure showed 15.10.18

11/10/2018 09:39:15

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That fleet team, described internally as fleet business partner, support each region and each delivery manager by asking questions such as; are they using the correct fuel? how is fuel efficiency? Does the region have enough vehicles, or does it have too many? are they the right spec? Does Royal Mail need to move vehicles from regional unit to regional unit? Do they have a high level of ware and tear? If so, Royal Mail will swap them over. Part of running the van fleet effectively is nurturing new talent – to ensure it will keep running as effectively as possible in the future. Royal Mail has two programmes for apprentices; vehicle maintenance and logistics management to keep the mail moving.

Management scheme

a vehicle that had done 1,300 combinations of ‘handbrake on, doors open’, in a week. As a result of this Bennett said that they had persuaded a manufacturer, over the course of six years, to strengthen the door pillar and introduce a handbrake warning “to tell you to put the handbrake on – that comes on every fifth time you start the ignition”. This, he says, is because of the way that drivers use our vehicles: “There is a duty of care.” It also has a zero harm health and safety culture, led by its occupational road risk standards. These require that all new drivers receive on the road training and assessment, drivers must achieve a medium risk rating, or better, before they are permitted to drive. New drivers recruited into the business must hold all the appropriate licences and permissions, and carry no more than six points. When drivers are interviewed for recruitment, the interview process covers what it describes as safety conscious competencies with questions covering attitudes towards safe driving.

Awareness campaigns

All new drivers receive on-the-road training and assessment before they are permitted to drive a Royal Mail vehicle. In 2017/18 it delivered approximately 11,800 such courses across its light commercial fleet. Bennett said Royal Mail implements numerous awareness campaigns for drivers, ranging from handbrakes to reversing and seatbelt awareness. “Every depot links to Royal Mail TV and every postie across the country will see that,” he said. There is no point in delivering such training unless it is effective. This measurement takes the form of the percentage of drivers who have a collision in the 12 months after receipt of the course. This is measured on a rolling basis and the KPI is running at 5.53%. Risk management 15.10.18

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has delivered a 14.4% reduction in collision rates over the past 12 months. On the van fleet Royal Mail provides bespoke courses for drivers, including safe driver induction training, fleet upgrade (which gets drivers used to a larger vehicle)and collision aftercare. During 2016/17 it delivered 13,500 such training courses to van drivers. This is vital said Gatti: “We have regular training interventions with drivers, there are lots of things we do from a driver education point of view – and there are up to 90,000 people who can drive for us.”

Top of the game

It’s not just training that keeps the van fleet at the top of its game, Gatti said: “We deploy telematics in all our trucks, and a third of our vans – moving to two-thirds this year. We look at driver information and how we use the vehicle. That information is fed back to delivery offices that have discussions on driver behaviour. We look at finding the right van for the right route. Now we are looking at the vans optimised against the route. So if it is a rural route we look at higher ground clearance, for example. The Peugeot Trek for example.” Operationally Royal Mail Fleet, for vehicles below 7.5-tonnes, is split into 20 delivery regions (vehicles that require an O-licence are run separately as a distribution fleet). A delivery manager is responsible for supporting a delivery region director to manage that fleet in that region effectively. Gatti explains that it is like having 20 fleet managers within a huge organisation, where that fleet manager is responsible for the day to day running of the fleet. “We are conscious that a delivery manager has 100 vehicles in their yard. They are a fleet manager. Our fleet excellence programme, the core skills of managing that fleet, is fully supported by a fleet team,” he said.

In the logistics management scheme, apprentices are given management responsibility for up to 40 people across distribution, processing and air routes functions. These apprentices are also given the opportunity to study for a Supply Chain Leadership professional degree apprenticeship – a professional qualification to further knowledge gained on the job. In vehicle maintenance a combination of on-the-job training and classroom learning means that apprentices have the opportunity to pursue light vehicle maintenance, as well as heavy vehicle maintenance, as well as body repair, with a formal qualification at the end. These apprentice schemes are now well established in the business. Given the unique set of challenges that Royal Mail faces, it requires a wide range of initiatives to find the right answers. From operations, to people management, to health and safety and its low carbon credentials that led to it taking home two awards in July (it also won the Low Carbon Award) the judges were unanimous in crowing it Fleet Van Operator of the Year. ■

NIGHT LIFE: Renault Trucks commercial director Nigel Butler, second right, presents the award to Royal Mail Fleet commercial director Duncan Webb, centre with the trophy, and Lorna McAtear, head of supply

MotorTransport 21

11/10/2018 09:39:55

MT Awards 2018 winner profile Apprenticeship of the Year

Specialists in excellence

Ford & Slater’s decision to employ a group apprentice co-ordinator proved to be inspirational and helped it win MT’s Apprenticeship of the Year


ike most DAF dealers Ford & Slater puts its apprentices through the manufacturer’s national dealer apprenticeship programme, a three-year scheme combining hands-on workshop training with block release for college training. Apprentices study at DAF’s learning centre at the City of Bristol College where they attend for typically two weeks at a time – a total of 28 weeks – and gain practical skills and hands-on experience working alongside qualified technicians in the workshop. At the end, apprentices achieve either a level 3 diploma in heavy vehicle maintenance and repair, a level 3 diploma in parts competence or a level 3 diploma in vehicle body repair. However, Ford & Slater, which has its head office in Leicester and branches in Norwich, Peterborough, Corby, Coventry, Kings Lynn, Lincoln, Newark, Spalding and Wisbech, has gone further and created a full-time role of apprentice co-ordinator and developed an apprentices panel across its branches, among other initiatives.

Talented technicians

Ford & Slater commercial operations director Philip Clayton told MT: “A few years ago the numbers of apprentices joining the company started to fall. Service managers at branches, focused on maintaining trucks and talking to customers, were finding it increasingly difficult to source and select candidates for our apprenticeship scheme. We started looking at ways in which we could address the issue 22 MotorTransport MTR_151018_022-023.indd 22

and ensure we developed a strong supply of talented technicians.” In 2016 Ford & Slater appointed Lee Sursham group apprentice co-ordinator. Sursham, who started as a DAF apprentice before becoming an HGV technician at the dealer, is a single point of contact for apprentices and arranges one-to-one sessions for those in need of extra support. He also builds stronger relationships with families and organises events, for example apprentice visits to the DAF factory in Leyland. Clayton said: “Lee has built close relationships with DAF, training provider Bristol College as well as local schools and has proved inspirational for the trainees. When we were looking for the right person for the role Lee stood out and impressed everyone with his creativity, inventiveness and impressive leadership skills.” Sursham recently helped organise a charity truck-pull race at the Bruntingthorpe Airfield in Leicestershire, raising money for the Teenage

Cancer Trust. Apprentices were split into two teams, each competing to pull a 7-tonne DAF XF truck the length of Bruntingthorpe, watched by family, friends and other visitors. And last year he organised a 31-mile hike across the Peak District, where six apprentices raised £2,000 for the charity. Sursham said: “We wanted something specific to Ford & Slater, to the transport industry and to our apprentices and we came up with a truck-pull. As well as being for an excellent cause, events such as this are a good way of developing teamwork skills and camaraderie among apprentices.”

Supporting role

Sursham is supported by directors’ secretary Michelle Bolton-King, who manages the administration relating to the training fairs, trade shows and all events involving local schools and colleges.

DEALER NUMBERS The DAF apprenticeship programme has been running for more than 22 years. Since its inception 20% of technicians have been through the programme and 25% of all DAF master technicians are former DAF apprentices. Since 1995, 1,700 apprentices from 133 DAF dealers have completed the programme, with more than 200 going through Ford & Slater. The dealer was named DAF Trucks’ Technical Training Dealer of the Year 2018 and had four of its apprentices shortlisted as finalists at the 2017 DAF Apprentice of the Year Awards. Clayton said: “Our apprenticeship programme gives youngsters the opportunity to enter an exciting and evolving industry. It’s all about making apprentices well prepared and more able to go out into their dealerships as well-rounded, ambitious and effective members of their team.” 15.10.18

09/10/2018 10:56:02

Sponsored by ALL SMILE: Tony McHugh, Giti sales and marketing director truck and bus, second right, presents Phillip Clayton, Ford & Slater commercial operations director, third left, with the trophy


Bolton-King, who is based at Ford & Slater’s Leicester facility, said: “I attend the events involving the apprentices and work closely with Lee to provide full support for the programme of events. This enables him to spend more time with the apprentices to ensure they get the maximum benefit of his time.”

Have their say

Another major initiative Ford & Slater has introduced is its apprentice panel that features a trainee/representative from all 10 of its dealer locations. Panel members are offered an equal opportunity to have their say on issues affecting the company and are invited and encouraged to become sound boards between their fellow apprentices and senior management. Clayton said: “Panel members have their say on how the apprenticeship programme could be marketed to candidates. They help design leaflets, brochures and video content as well

as promote apprenticeships at events and trade shows, influence the content of social media pages and presentations. It helps develop their communication, creative-thinking, decisionmaking, flexibility, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.” Apprentices and Sursham deliver careers presentations at local schools and talk first-hand about their experiences. And the company exhibits at shows and events including Peterborough Skills Show – attended by 6,000 students – Truckfest and The Careers Show. Since Sursham’s appointment, the dealer has placed a big emphasis on how the apprenticeship scheme is marketed to attract quality candidates. Clayton said: “Improved marketing and promotion has led to a better quality of applicant, providing us with the opportunity to select candidates with the greatest potential. It’s then about improving the success rate of apprentices in the business and nurturing them correctly, which is where Lee’s presence proves invaluable. There are trial periods for the benefit of both us and the apprentice, ensuring the scheme is the right fit for both parties.”

Record numbers

The apprenticeship programme has almost doubled its intake in three years (2014: 9; 2017: 17) and received a record number of applications in 2017 (562 across the group). The result of these efforts has been a 100% pass rate in the past two years and a 95% retention rate from the 2017 intake. Sursham sits on the DAF programme board of governors, who meet regularly to discuss ways of improving the programme. Clayton concluded: “By the time Ford & Slater apprentices become qualified DAF technicians, they are well-rounded and highly skilled. The development of every individual takes three to four years and every year we are glad to see that we have a succession of technically competent young people coming into our workshops. “All of this supports our customers, which makes it a very solid investment.” ■ 15.10.18

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In March this year Ford & Slater hosted an open evening at its Leicester site highlighting the apprenticeship opportunities it can offer in truck repair and servicing, parts sales, vehicle body repair and vehicle painting. The 90-minute event was aimed at youngsters aged 14 and over and their families from across the East Midlands and East Anglia with an interest in starting an apprenticeship at any of its 10 branches. Ford & Slater staff provided tours of the dealership and the opportunity to try some hands-on tasks relating to trucks. Group apprentice co-ordinator Lee Sursham said: “We gave potential apprentices the chance to look at what the apprenticeships entail, as well as talk to trainees and see the teamwork involved and the support our apprentices experience. “We tried to create an atmosphere in which students could see themselves working at the company.”

CALL A FRIEND Ford & Slater offers a tool allowance loan scheme in which apprentices can earn the full value of the loan based on performance, attainment, attitude. This incentivises high attainment and removes the need for expensive outlay on tools by apprentices. There is also a “refer a friend” scheme in which £250 is paid to apprentices who recommend a friend to the programme. In addition, qualified apprentices and all Ford & Slater employees have the opportunity to do further learning and development, and further courses supported by the dealer include IMI level 4 management courses, RMI qualifications and MScs.

AND THE JUDGES SAID For the Apprenticeship of the Year category, entrants were required to demonstrate their success in attracting and retaining high-quality recruits who are continuing to make a positive contribution to their business and the transport industry in general. Judges praised Ford & Slater’s decision to invest in an apprentice co-ordinator, develop its apprenticeship panel as well as the scheme’s impressive retention rate. They also said the dealer has demonstrated good engagement with young people with the use of social media. And they liked the positive comments about the scheme from the apprentices and the fact that a large proportion of managers at the dealership started out as apprentices. MotorTransport 23

09/10/2018 10:56:42


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11/10/2018 09:31:14

Motor Transport 15 October 2018  

Motor Transport is a bi-monthly logistics publication specialising in road transport.

Motor Transport 15 October 2018  

Motor Transport is a bi-monthly logistics publication specialising in road transport.