Sharp ■ Informed ■ Challenging
Asset Alliance buys dealer Hanbury Riverside p3
HMRC gets better deal for Premier creditors
New owner Almtone racked up £50,000 debt during time as Pallet-Track member p4
Use it or lose it
Industry still not using Apprenticeship Levy
OPERATORS IN THIS ISSUE Clipper Logistics...............................p4,10 Connect Group.....................................p12 DHL ......................................................p8 Maxi Haulage ......................................p10 PL Logistics and Distribution..................p6 Premier Logistics ..................................p4 Royal Mail ..........................................p24 Tuffnells .............................................p12 UK Mail .................................................p8 Walker Logistics .................................p10 Yusen Logistics ...................................p10
Canute faces legal action By Chris Druce
Pallet-Track is preparing legal action against the new owner of Canute Haulage Group over a £50,000 debt, MT can reveal. Canute was a Pallet-Track member and covered postcodes including CA, LA, TD, DG and RM. However Pallet-Track is understood to have served Canute its notice in March, ahead of its controversial prepack, over concerns regarding the service the member was delivering and poor communication. Canute was working its notice when it made its move to stave off insolvency via a CVA, which was completed on 12 July. This has left PalletTrack an unsecured creditor of the old business, which is in administration, £56,000 out of pocket, according to PalletTrack MD Nigel Parkes. “The pre-pack happened over a weekend,” Parkes told MT. “There was the switch to the new owner Almtone and
on Monday it kept trading. It took us about two weeks to get official confirmation that it had been a pre-pack, rather than a sale as a going concern.” Parkes said that while PalletTrack could have got rid of Canute at the point of administration as the new business was not contracted to the network, he chose to instigate a gentleman’s agreement and gave the operator two weeks to get its house in order. The Pallet-Track boss said
that he was conscious Canute employed more than 800 people and at the point of the agreement did not want to add to a precarious situation that might affect them. In the time it traded as a Pallet-Track member, Canute’s new owner Almtone racked up another £50,000 debt to the business. Parkes said that despite chasing this payment he has had no success, and contacted his lawyer on 6 August to
begin legal proceedings. Three new members have been recruited to cover the postcodes previously operated by Canute: J Dickinson Transport covers CA, TD and DG; Cannons Transport the LA region; and TW Road Haulage, which covers a section of RM. Speaking to MT last month Canute sales director David Emslie confirmed the departure. “On the Pallet-Track situation, the old Canute business was a member of the network and the Almtone acquisition did nullify our previous agreements with Pallet-Track. “Canute has left the PalletTrack network and is operating an independent solution for our customers by using our 14 UK depots. Clearly the benefits of being a pallet network member are not lost on us and we are in talks with a number of networks to help decide our future strategy.”
Maritime targets more chilled distribution contracts Maritime Transport wants to win more work in the chilled distribution sector after a successful start to its contract running Tesco’s Snodland DC contributed to a strong performance in 2017. Taking over from Wincanton, Maritime began delivering chilled produce to Tesco stores in south London a year ago, and MD
John Williams (pictured) said “given the opportunity, we would like to win more business like this”. On why the operator made its first move into chilled distribution, Williams said: “Tesco decided to tender out the operation, and we felt we had the skill to bring increased efficiencies because we have an operation that sits in parallel in
Medway, which means we can integrate some of that work and use the trucks for longer and harder.” The operator closed the year ended 27 December with a turnover of £253.7m, up 13% on 2016’s £224.6m. Its pre-tax profit rose 13% to £6.6m (2016: £5.8m). Williams told MT that performance in Maritime’s current financial year has been strong and he expects to see another year of growth.
News Extra p10 Focus: Warehousing p13 Viewpoint: Jane Gorick p14 Driver training p16 Fuel cards p18 MT Awards winners p20-23 Careers p24
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HGV parking prioritised in DC guidelines Overnight HGV parking should be considered in planning decisions and when DCs are proposed, according to new government guidelines. The move, welcomed by the RHA, should ensure driver welfare is taken into account by local authorities when coming to their decisions. An updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states: “Planning policies and decisions should recognise the importance of providing adequate overnight lorry parking facilities, taking into account any local shortages, to reduce the risk of parking in locations that lack proper facilities or could cause a nuisance. “Proposals for new or expanded DCs should make provision for sufficient lorry parking to cater for their anticipated use.” The guidelines follow a consultation earlier this year, in which respondents highlighted a “need nationally for additional lorry parking”. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett described the inclusion of HGV parking in the guidelines as a “victory for common sense” and that it wanted to see councils working to the framework. RHA infrastructure manager Chrys Rampley said: “The RHA has been lobbying for many years to get the recognition and understanding by authorities that lorry parking and driver welfare provision is needed. “This provision must be at the heart of the planning process. “Only time will tell, but the NPPF document and the recently published national lorry parking survey will help local authorities identify where such provision is required.” 13.8.18
Sale of commercial vehicle dealership marks retirement of three ‘older’ directors
Asset Alliance buys Hanbury Riverside By Emma Shone
Asset Alliance has bought commercial vehicle dealership Hanbury Riverside for an undisclosed sum, marking the retirement of MT’s 2016 Service to Industry winner Glyn Davies. The deal, including vehicle assets of more than £17m, was completed last week (6 August) after more than six months of talks. Asset Alliance, which gains its first depot in the south east in the acquisition, welcomed the links the West Thurrock site provides to London. Hanbury Riverside director Lee Smith will remain at the depot with the same management team. However, the sale of the business marks the retirement of its remaining three directors: Glyn Davies, Philip West
and non-active director Ian Wilson. Davies told MT the directors had decided to sell in the face of “the shareholders all getting a bit older”. “We had to think about where we were going. We felt a great responsibility to our customers and staff to get the business into new hands. After conversations with Asset Alliance there was a realisation that it was a good fit for both parties,” he said. Asset Alliance CEO Willie Paterson said the group will treat the Hanbury Riverside legacy in the industry “very carefully”. He told MT: “I am a great believer in the phrase ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’. There’s a leaf or two from Hanbury we can take and adapt to the rest of our business.
“This deal is about partnership and growing together.” Paterson added that there are no immediate plans to change the Hanbury Riverside name. “It is a strong brand so we’re going to take our time and look at that and see where it goes. We have some different ideas that we’re looking at at the moment,” he said. Davies’s retirement comes after almost 53 years in the road haulage industry. He told MT: “There comes a time where you have to acknowledge that age catches up with you. And I’ve seen contemporaries of mine go on too long. I’ve had a very good run.” But Paterson added: “I suspect that Glyn won’t disappear over the horizon. I think we’re all very keen to have his input.” The Hanbury Riverside deal
comes after a string of acquisitions by Asset Alliance, including its purchase of ATE Truck and Trailer Sales in 2011 and Total Reefer in 2013. Paterson said that while Asset Alliance has expanded substantially through acquisitions, it had never bought a business that did not suit its operation and needs exactly. “We only bought businesses that we genuinely believe add value to the group and we’ve now got a good spectrum of businesses in the group that touch all the sectors we want to be in,” he said. In the wake of the Hanbury acquisition, though, Paterson said Asset Alliance’s mediumterm focus will be optimising its current operations to win the business a place in the market top three in the next three years.
Applications made to seek truck cartel buyer compensation Two applications to represent the industry and seek compensation for vehicles bought while a truck cartel was in operation have been made to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). The European Commission issued the record €2.9bn (£2.5bn) fine to Daimler, DAF, Volvo Group and IVECO (above) in 2016 after concluding the OEMs had operated a cartel between 1997 and 2011.
MAN was found guilty but as the whistleblower avoided a monetary punishment. Scania was later fined €881m for its involvement in the cartel. Hauliers that bought vehicles during this time will not benefit from the fines paid, and the competing cases from the RHA and UK Trucks Claim (UKTC) have different approaches regarding how compensation should be sought for them.
The RHA’s proposed action requires operators that bought vehicles while the cartel was in operation to opt in to the claim, and the association has 3,600 hauliers signed up. UKTC’s approach would be to seek a lump sum of compensation from the OEMs, which operators could then apply to claim back. While UKTC has predicted operators could see compensation of up to £20,000 per truck,
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett told MT he believed this was too high and that the association’s prediction of “more than £6,000” was a more realistic estimate. Now that the applications have been submitted, the CAT is expected to hold a case management conference in the autumn, where it will make preparations for the full hearing at which the successful application will be chosen. MotorTransport 3
Operator entered a CVA last month after period of ’unprecedented financial stress’
HMRC gets better deal for Premier creditors By Chris Druce
HMRC has forced through a better deal for creditors of Premier Logistics (UK) after the business entered a CVA last month. The struggling haulier had been seeking to restructure its finances in the face of a £5.7m shortfall to creditors, after what owner Lee Christopher called a period of “unprecedented financial stress” at the business. The original CVA proposal would have seen unsecured creditors receive 32.4p for every pound they are owed and it would have run for 35 months. But following a meeting on 30 July where the revisions were put to creditors of the business, HMRC increased the amount the haulier must repay its creditors, albeit over a longer term.
The new deal will see the equivalent of 50p in the pound, paid over five years, which comes to £2m, instead of the proposed £1.1m. According to a report by administrator FRP Advisory on the CVA, seen by MT: “The modifications proposed considerably improve the over-
all projected return to unsecured creditors, with no impact on the return envisaged during the first three years of the CVA.” Premier Logistics closed its Huddersfield depot and its MWC Haulage operation at the beginning of July, which was based there. Its Reading
depot was due to shut down on 13 July. Premier Logistics made a pre-tax loss of £1.2m in the year ended 30 April 2017, which was triggered by the end of its work with pallet network Pall-Ex and poor performances from two businesses it bought in 2015 – DA Clayton in Bicester and CJ Express in Hull. The former closed in December 2016, while CJ Express continued trading until last November. The haulier continued to be loss-making for the rest of 2017, recording a shortfall of £87,174 for the eight months to 31 December. Earlier this year Christopher said he was confident the business would recover, however according to FRP Advisory it made a further loss of £355,000 in the five months to 31 May 2018.
Contract wins and purchases wind beneath Clipper’s wings New contracts and successful acquisitions made for a strong 2017/18 at Clipper Logistics, which saw both its turnover and profit soar. The e-retail fulfilment specialist saw turnover increase by 17.6% in the year ended 30 April 2018 to £400.1m (2017: £340.1m). Pre-tax profit for the year was up by 11.8% at £18m (2017: £16m). Organic growth from existing customers including Asda, Morrisons and Wilko boosted Clipper’s cashflow during the year, as did new contracts with Edinburgh Woollen Mill, River Island and ASOS, among others. The operator also signed a “significant” new deal with Boohoo.com-owned Pretty Little Thing before its yearend, but as the operation only 4 MotorTransport MTR_130818_004.indd 4
went live in July, the financial benefit will only be seen in Clipper’s 2018/19 results. The contract, which will have 1,200 people working on it by the close of 2018, will be run from a new dedicated 600,000sq ft warehouse in Sheffield. Clipper said two acquisitions it made during 2017/18 had also contributed to its financial performance. The operator bought Tesam Distribution for £11m in May 2017, and in its results document said the integration of the company into Clipper was complete and generating money, although a bigger benefit would be felt after a full year of ownership in its 2018/19 results. Clipper also bought technical services business RepairTech in June 2017.
Yusen Logistics snaps up ILG MT Top 100 company Yusen Logistics UK has bought e-commerce delivery and fulfilment firm ILG, in a move it claims will put it into the top 10 of UK logistics providers. The deal, completed on 1 August, could deliver a 12% revenue boost to Yusen Logistics, which ranked 21 in the MT Top 100 last year with an annual turnover of £231.1m. Set up in 1990, ILG provides warehousing, fulfilment and delivery, with expertise in the fashion and beauty sectors.
Today, ILG has more than 175,000sq ft of warehousing, with more than 220 staff and more than 700 global clients. Yusen described its move as “a direct response to changing market behaviour”. It did not disclose a value for the deal. Andy Fitt, MD of Yusen Logistics UK (pictured, right, w i t h I LG M D Mi k e Stephenson), said: “This acquisition reinforces our commitment to continued investment in the UK and we’re delighted to be joining forces with ILG.”
B2C pallet safety concerns mount Concern is mounting about the potential risks of B2C pallet deliveries six months after the HSE announced it would not introduce a maximum weight limit, as a promised guidance document on safe deliveries has still not emerged. The HSE passed its recommendations to the pallet weight working group, including the RHA and pallet networks, in February after it ruled against imposing pallet weight legislation. MT understands the guidance the group will produce based on these is “a work in progress”, but initial frustration at the non-legislative approach is turning to concern that some B2C deliveries may pose a risk. Malcolm Dodds, RHA head of technical services, admitted it was disappointing that the HSE had decided against setting a limit, but he said most pallet networks have measures in place to ensure all deliveries were made safely. He said: “Guidance is just that: it’s guidance. But pallet networks probably go over and above that now anyway.” However, Pall-Ex MD Kevin Buchanan said businesses would not adhere to guidelines until it was law and that recommendations were “historic and outdated, lacking repercussions or deterrents”. He added: “Most networks and hauliers adhere to weight guidelines as they stand, but as the B2C share of the market increases, guidelines aren’t enough. For end-customers who are not routinely familiar with the logistics sector, deliveries could create potential risks because of the lack of forklifts at residential properties, coupled with tricky access and navigation concerns. “All of these factors can potentially increase the risk of accidents.” An HSE spokeswoman said its research showed weight was just one factor that could increase the force required to move a loaded pallet and that setting a maximum weight was not sensible. She said: “This guidance is being developed by the industry for the industry. We would like a draft available as soon as possible.” 13.8.18
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GOING GAS: Waitrose is taking part in a large-scale trial of low-carbon alternatives to diesel, involving almost 60 dedicated gas trucks. CNG Fuels is opening a renewable biomethane refuelling station in Northampton as part of the trial, near Waitrose’s headquarters. The station will be used by a new Waitrose fleet of 58 compressed natural gas trucks (CNG), engaged in long-haul, inter-city and urban runs. The trial also includes six zero-emission refrigeration units, which are powered by the trucks’ gas engines. The CNG public access refuelling station will open this autumn at the Red Lion Truck Stop, off junction 16 of the M1, close to Magna Park, Milton Keynes, home to Waitrose and John Lewis’s national hub. The station will be able to refuel more than 350 trucks a day.
Apprenticeships take-up is far lower than expected with operators calling for reform
Industry still not using Apprenticeship Levy By Emma Shone
The Apprenticeship Levy is not delivering what it was designed for, according to a two-year review of the ‘Transport infrastructure skills strategy’ by the Strategic Transport Apprenticeship Taskforce (STAT). The report reveals the road transport sector recruited fewer than 10% of a projected 15,000 apprentices in the past year. STAT, which, among others, is made up of representatives from the Df T, TfL and Think Logistics, said that in 2017/18 the sector recruited just 1,300 apprentices. In its review a year earlier, the taskforce had predicted this number would be more like 15,000.
One reason for the shortfall in projected uptake, according to the report, is a lack of suitable apprenticeship frameworks and recognised training providers. It states: “Urgent action to address the lack of apprenticeships is vital if the road freight sector is to address the long-term labour force issues and the knock-on effects for the economy.” The report also highlights that the 85% of the industry made up of SMEs will likely have less access to HR facilities, and could therefore be less able to spend the time on bringing apprentices into the business. Another obstacle highlighted by STAT is a wide-
spread lack of understanding how the levy works, not just in road freight but across all sectors. It states: “STAT does not believe that the apprenticeships policy is delivering what was intended. Numbers are down and take-up low. Funding set aside for skills now is likely to be diverted to HM Treasury by 2019. “Based on STAT’s discussions with its stakeholders, many employers are not engaging with the Apprenticeship Levy. Of those who are, many are calling for reform, to allow greater flexibility in terms of allowing funds in levy pots to support a wider range of training.”
Think Logistics founder and Abbey Logistics CEO Steve Granite said that his business is yet to spend any of its levy funding. He told MT: “We couldn’t find anything that was suitable off the shelf for what we wanted, and we’re working with a training provider to design something. “The problem is the levy came first and then the courses came after. The infrastructure wasn’t in place for people to be able to spend the funding.” Granite added that the 2019 deadline, after which the levy pot will be cleared out by HMRC, had prompted Abbey Logistics to “get in gear and sort something out”.
PL Logistics jobs saved in sale All jobs at a Thurrockbased operator have been saved after it entered administration and was then sold. PL Logistics and Distribution appointed insolvency experts from SFP on 10 July and a sale of its business and assets was completed on 12 July. The company was established in 2009 and undertook road freight and haulage services from its Essex operating centre. It held an O-licence authorising 14 HGVs and two trailers. According to SFP, the company had a lossmaking contract that resulted in it not being able to repay HMRC and supplier debts. Despite attempts to reduce costs, the haulier could not generate sufficient funds to service both its current and historic debts and eventually its secured creditor consented to the appointment of administrators in June. The business was marketed and according to SFP it was sold to PL Logistical Solutions, with all employees transferred to the new company. Records show the sole director of the new company is Jason Whitmore, who was also director of PL Logistics and Distribution.
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city’s ring road (A4540) free of charge. Older vehicles will face paying a daily fee to enter, although the amount has not yet been decided. To help operators understand how the CAZ could affect them and advise them on preparing their fleets, Birmingham City Council is working alongside MT on a free-to-attend half-day roadshow event. A morning session will provide an update from the council on its air quality plans, as well as an opportunity to
engage in a question and answer session with key team members. This will be followed by a series of workshops focused on alternative fuel vehicles, retrofit technology, refuelling infrastructure and leasing/rental options. The event will also feature a display of the latest clean vehicle technology, including HGVs, buses and vans. ■ The roadshow will be held at Villa Park Stadium on 11 October. Register your place today at motortransport.co.uk/ clean-air-birmingham. 13.8.18
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Trade association queries permit availability if UK has to contend with no-deal Brexit
RHA: haulage permit bill won’t solve border issues
By Emma Shone and Kylie Noble
New legislation on crossborder haulage has been given royal assent as the government makes preparations for the UK’s departure from the EU. But the RHA has warned Britain is still “sleepwalking into a disaster”. The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act gives the government power to implement an operator permit scheme if such a measure is needed to support crossborder freight after Brexit, particularly if a deal is not reached. Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “The haulage industry is at the heart of our trading relationship with the EU and we are confident that we will reach an agreement to maintain the liberal access that is beneficial to both sides. “But these powers give us the flexibility to have systems in place if a perm it system is required and provides reassurance for hauliers to continue planning for a smooth EU exit.” However, the RHA said that aside from negotiating bilateral deals with individual countries, there are only two recognised forms of permit for
international haulage: a community licence, which is free of charge to holders of international O-licences; and a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) multilateral permit. When the UK leaves the customs union, community licences will be obsolete, and the number of ECMT permits available is capped at quantities dependent on the emission standards of the trucks carrying them. If every truck granted an ECMT permit was the cleanest possible (Euro-6), just 1,224 would be available.
According to the RHA, this is less than 5% of the number of community licences in use. Chief executive Richard Burnett told MT: “The EU is unwilling to have a conversation about an alternative, which is catastrophic. We are facing no deal. We haven’t negotiated any terms of access into Europe, which means if we haven’t got permits, we can’t go. People have switched off to Brexit but we are sleepwalking into a disaster.” The National Audit Office (NAO) has also warned that government plans to avoid
SORTED: The fate of the UK Mail brand has been sealed, with owner Deutsche Post DHL set to bring the delivery company under a new name after buying the business in 2016. UK Mail and its assets will become DHL Parcel UK, with its fleet and portfolio of more than 50 sites across the company set to adopt the new identity by early 2019. UK Mail CEO Peter Fuller said: “The rebrand represents the next stage in our alignment with DHL in terms of values and ambition in the parcels market. DHL is one of the most recognisable and respected brands in the world. Our people are proud to be a part of it and we will be able to provide our customers with a wider international and domestic product offering to benefit the developing UK delivery market.” The integration of UK Mail into DHL is close to completion 18 months after the deal was struck.
8 MotorTransport MTR_130818_008.indd 8
border disruption in the Brexit transition period with an Operation Stack alternative, Project Brock, are in danger of being delayed. An NAO report says its “detailed examination of the contingency preparations suggests that considerable work needs to be completed”, with engineering works on the project yet to start. A Highways England spokesman told MT: “Project Brock is in the development stage and we will provide more detail when designs are finalised, which will be towards the end of the year.”
She’s RHA looks further afield
She’s RHA is widening its target audience with a focus on inclusion and diversity rather than just trying to attract women to the industry. While the campaign’s founder Lesley O’Brien told MT working to bring women into the sector will “always be my passion” and will remain a crucial part of She’s RHA’s work, she said the skills gap the industry faces requires a wider pool of people to plug it. “If we stay just focused on women, we may not be closing that gap. But by widening our focus, we’re tapping into a wider skills pool. “If you look at where my office is in Bradford, it’s multi-cultural. To fix my skills shortage, I have to tap into all those different cultures and people with different backgrounds and abilities,” O’Brien said. She’s RHA has partnered with diversity and inclusion specialists Creating Inclusive Culture (CIC) in line with its wider strategy. CIC and She’s RHA will work together at events, and O’Brien said that its new partner would strengthen the trade association campaign with its stronger knowledge of workplace diversity.
C Butt returns to profitability C Butt Logistics reported a profit in its 2017/18 financial year for the first time since 2014, a year ahead of its selfpredicted return to the black. The business suffered a 30% increase to its pre-tax loss in the year to April 2017 to £461,654 (2016: £355,761). Joint MD Jonathan Butt told MT in February that the operator was on the up again and predicted it would return to profit in 2019, but recently revealed that for the financial year to April 2018 the business had shaken its loss-making streak. He said: “When I spoke to
MT earlier in the year, things were moving in the right direction, and we’ve managed to keep that going. We’re really pleased at the moment, and looking forward to the year ahead.” Butt and his brother Robert became joint MDs of the family operator in May 2016, following the departure of former MD Clive Hodgkinson and operations director Karl Hodgkinson. “We’ve had five or six years of negative results and some of them quite heavy. But it’s back in family hands and we have a new strategy.” 13.8.18
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Logistics industry feels the effects of retail sector’s struggles as increasing number of stores face closure
High street woes bring supply chain challenges
By David Craik
UK high streets have taken a battering in the past few months with familiar retailer names such as Poundworld and Toys R Us folding as a sluggish economy, higher wages and business rates, and strategic errors batter their finances. With the store closures come significant job losses. Poundworld, for example, has shut 335 stores, resulting in the loss of 5,100 jobs. Other well-known names such as Carpetright have implemented company voluntary arrangements resulting in further store closures and redundancies.
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) there are nearly 2,500 fewer UK retail stores than three years ago, with more than 3,200 retail insolvencies over the past four years. The future UK high street, said the BRC, will host fewer shops with the share of online sales in non-food items as high as 50% by 2030. Even companies posting healthy sales figures are making changes. A recent study from supply chain and logistics consultancy SCALA revealed that the UK’s biggest grocery retailers such as Tesco are significantly reducing their product ranges to compete 10 MotorTransport MTR_130818_010-011.indd 10
with discounter challengers. The typical discount retailer has 7,500 stock-keeping units (SKUs), compared with 30,000 for a traditional supermarket. SCALA believes streamlining product lines will see the SKU count reduce by 10% on average for grocery suppliers. What do these past, present and future struggles in the retail sector mean for the logistics industry? What is the effect on the companies delivering those shrinking number of goods to our shrinking number of high street stores? It’s a mixed picture of challenges and growth opportunities. Last month Poundworld
closed its DC operations, resulting in the loss of 299 jobs. However, high street fashion chain Jack Wills recently signed a deal to lease a 390,000sq ft warehouse for its global DC, while bakery chain Greggs is reportedly constructing a new DC as part of a £100m supply chain investment.
Element of caution
Clipper Logistics, whose retail clients include Halfords and John Lewis, recently posted an 18.9% growth in annual EBITDA in its non-e-fulfilment logistics business. Steve Parkin, executive
chairman, writing in Clipper’s results presentation, said the growth had come despite the group being “conscious of the wider forces affecting the UK retail sector. This means we have to bring an element of caution into our planning”. No one from Clipper was available to speak to MT on this point. However, as a group it has emphasised the need to increase its e-fulfilment operations giving the potential for e-commerce, returns management and click and collect. Walker Logistics, which works with a range of highstreet chains, smaller independents and discount stores,
has also been affected. Sales director William Walker said: “The majority of the time our movements are to centralised DCs, which is the favoured retailer model, although some prefer smaller orders sent directly to stores, “We have noticed a more aggressive just-in-time focus from retailers whereby they used to order larger quantities of stock and repeat orders would be fewer but less time critical. Now they order much more frequent, smaller quantities and expect inbound very quickly as they are either low or out of those items, which helps their cash flow. “While overall we have seen a decrease in retailer volume, as we are a complete supply chain partner, this has been offset by other activities we assist with such as online fulfilment or rework of products.”
Alan Miles, MD of Maxi Haulage, which also works with major retailers, does not see any need to change current strategy. “None of the retailers we work with have gone bust,” he said. “They are moving from strength to strength and treat us very fairly. We don’t distinguish between retail and industrial companies when we look for contracts. All our new customers are checked for credit worthiness.” 13.8.18
Miles’s experience seems to be the most common one according to the RHA. Nick Deal, the association’s manager of logistics development, said: “We have had no member input in terms of flagging high street failures as a concern to operators. Although clearly the high street in general terms is somewhat an endangered species under attack from online delivery services and changing shopping habits. “For smaller operators the best approach may be to keep an eye on the finances of your customers. Higher up the scale it is about looking more closely at e-commerce opportunities.” Deal pointed to the UK division of Yusen Logistics recently buying e-commerce delivery and fulfilment specialist ILG.
The focus on e-commerce to ride out the high street decline is picked up by Simon Underwood, head of business recovery at accountancy firm Menzies. “While there may be a downturn in deliveries to retail stores as they continue to close, there should be an increase in deliveries to private
homes and offices as they turn to the internet,” he said. “This may mean that logistics companies will change their fleets to assist with more frequent deliveries of smaller consignments. That means more smaller vehicles and more drivers.” He also sees the opportunity for “some clever IT to assist with more complex delivery schedules, pricing structures and working outside of office hours”. Logistics consultant Paul Trudgian agreed. “We haven’t seen much impact on 3PLs because sales still exist in e-commerce,” he said. “It is about how to reconfigure to meet that changing demand and the need to deliver to consumers rather than high streets. The more forwardthinking and tech-savvy 3PLs will succeed, whereas the family firm running 10 trucks up and down the country may be the losers.” Trudgian advised operators still mainly focused on the high street to work more closely with retailers. “The businesses are not integrated enough. You store 100 pallets
of material and distribute it even though you can see the retailer’s sales are struggling,” he said. “You should be using your supply chain intelligence to work out volumes forecasts and operational planning.”
One operator refocusing is Walker Logistics. “Effective and ongoing stock management routines allow a 3PL to
highlight any stored lines that are approaching their best before dates in time to enable the client to find a buyer before it is too late,” said Walker. “If the 3PL has contacts within the market in which its client operates, it might be able to help identify an outlet for some ageing stock.” Walker is optimistic about future opportunities in the sector.
“I believe there will be more companies reducing stores but that will be complemented by a growth in online sales. So, the volume may well remain the same, or in fact grow, but through different channels, which they need to manage,” he said. “It is about working closely with your customers, understanding the processes and forecasting as much as possible.”
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Connect profit warning LoCITY prompts staff reshuffle lowdown
Struggling Tuffnells owner brings in new CEO from the US
By Emma Shone
Connect Group has appointed the former CEO of an American logistics supplier as chief executive after a troubling set of results for the group triggered the resignation of Mark Cashmore in June. Jos Opdeweegh (right) has worked at the helm of a number of logistics and supply chain businesses in the US, notably as CEO of Americold for four years. He will assume the role at the beginning of September and is spending time with Connect Group this month preparing for the handover. Cashmore, who has been in the role for 12 years, will remain at the business in the short-term to hand over to Opdeweegh. In a statement to employees seen by MT, Connect Group chairman Gary Kennedy said: “The appointment of Jos is a very positive development for the group. It should be clear that he has extensive experience, with a record of building
business to the benefit of stakeholders. The knowledge, energy and fresh perspective he brings will help to shape our strategy, ensuring we all share in a successful future.” Cashmore’s departure was announced in the wake of a profit warning in June, which said that the third quarter of its current financial year had been “extremely disappointing”, resulting in “materially reduced” anticipated pre-tax profit. Chief financial officer David
Bauernfeind left the business with immediate effect in the fallout of the trading update last month, and was replaced by former Yodel CFO Tony Grace on 18 June. The June announcement also contained the news that Connect Group will be closing parcel shop network Pass my Parcel, as it was unable to make the division profitable for the business. Poor financial performance from Tuffnells was blamed in part on Pass my Parcel because it was moving parcel freight through its network, which is not designed for such an operation. Turnover at the IDW operator fell 12% yearon-year in Q3 to £43.5m (2017: £49.6m). A spokesman for Connect Group told MT the closure of Pass My Parcel was under way and should be completed by its financial year end at the close of this month, but that contractual obligations meant some movements would continue in the short term.
FRESH GREENS: Tuffnells has updated its ‘Big green parcel machine’ livery on the side of 10 new Mercedes-Benz Atego trucks it has put into service. Stuart Godman, commercial director at Tuffnells owner Connect Group, said: “We’re delighted to be revealing our fresh new look, one that simultaneously recalls Tuffnells’ 104-year heritage while also bringing the brand into the 21st century. Our trademark green is still instantly recognisable to customers, as is the familiar Tuffnells name, but by modernising the design we’re indicating we are moving with the times and continuing to invest in our company.” The operator’s latest 7.5-tonners were sourced through north west dealer Roanza Truck & Van, which has supplied Tuffnells with 22 Atego trucks this year.
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A monthly look at work to cut CV emissions. This month, Carl Lomas, chairman of the LoCITY Van Working Group, discusses the importance of low-emission final-mile deliveries The LoCITY Van Working Group is very interactive. Conversations in support of clean air regularly stray beyond vans into walker, trolley, cycle and cargo bike solutions for final-mile delivery. While the group is not electric-centric, alternative fuel discussions are usually around zero-emission vehicles. It’s clear that drivers, riders and walkers making deliveries in the inner city need to be sure their air is healthy and clean. The group has repeatedly said the key challenge for a greater uptake of electric vehicles is infrastructure and charging solutions. This splits into two streams: depot charging for fleets of vans, and owner-drivers who take vans home. Depot charging must ensure adequate grid power, while a wider issue is how to manage vehicles that go home to charge. The owner-driver, often parking on the street, has limited access to charging and this is inhibiting a large proportion of the commercial fleet. A majority of the group report low daily mileage for vans working in central London. They might have sporadic trip patterns and adjust their routes for daily congestion, but their work remains concentrated in high density areas where parking puts pressure on loading and charging times. Average speeds often fall below 10mph for the working day so zero-emission vehicles are already a viable solution for many operators. Availability of alternative fuel vans is always a hot topic in the discussion, especially in the shadow of the Ultra Low Emission Zone, starting in April 2019, and there is growing concern over vehicle availability. Volume is more likely than weight to be the constraint of express parcels carried in any given vehicle, so replenishing cycle or cargo bike couriers is a solution. Management of vehicles via route optimisation and consolidation is a major emerging part in lowering emissions. Fewer miles for more deliveries mean cleaner air. However, clean air is not all about technology. Julian Allen from Westminster University recently talked to LoCITY about management solutions. Disruption and market change is at the heart of reducing carbon and delivering clean air. Any solution must think ahead so vehicle kilometres, road space and time allocation, kerb space and technology interventions all save time, money and reduce environmental impact. At the LoCITY Van Working Group, technology providers, alternative fuel suppliers and operators can network. We are vigorous in creating strong discussions across the group for clean air solutions. Van operators in the group are rich in express delivery – this part of the commercial landscape is exploding, especially in the e-retail final-mile client chain where numbers are increasing fast. LoCITY welcomes more contributors to the conversation, at our quarterly LoCITY meetings. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. 13.8.18
Demand for space increases There was a sharp increase in demand for warehousing in the first half of this year, according to research by two leading property agents, Savills and Cushman & Wakefield. But just how long it will continue is open to question. It is also unclear what effect Brexit will have on demand. Savills’ ‘Big shed briefing’ calculated that take-up of buildings over 100,000sq ft reached 16.4 million sq ft in H1, a 25% increase over the same period last year and 33% above the long-term average. Demand was led by online retailers, which accounted for 28.4% of take-up, with the retail sector as a whole responsible for 55% of the total. Kevin Mofid, head of industrial research at Savills, said: “As we are in the second half of the year, the current pace of
WAREHOUSE TAKE-UP ABOVE 100,000SQ FT 40,000,000 35,000,000 30,000,000 25,000,000 20,000,000 15,000,000 10,000,000 5,000,000 0
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Q1
take-up is on a par with 2016 levels, the best year on record for industrial take-up.” The increased take-up of available buildings and space has led to a 2.1% drop in
availability levels since the end of 2017, but this situation is likely to ease. Savills said 49 warehouses totalling 9.4 million sq ft are due to be completed in 2018/19; the
highest level for 10 years. Cushman & Wakefield, which includes buildings above 50,000sq ft in its figures, recorded an overall increase in take-up in H1, the best since
2015. However, the level of demand began to slow in Q2 and, taken alone, the figure for this quarter was 6.3 million sq ft, down 32% on the previous year. Bruno Berretta, from Cushman & Wakefield’s UK Logistics Research and Insight department, said that while an increase in activity is still possible in the second half of this year, uncertainty is dampening demand. “With less than a year before the UK officially leaves the European Union, many occupiers have turned their attention towards Brexit and this has had a material effect on the deal flow in the second quarter, with fewer transactions agreed,” he said. “Unless there is a visible breakthrough in negotiations, this uncertainty could extend into the second half of the year.”
Work gets under way on First Panattoni Crewe warehouse Developer First Panattoni has begun construction of a 240,000sq ft warehouse in Crewe. The building, which is due to be completed by the end of the year, will be located off junction 16 of the M6. It is close to the Bentley Motors manufacturing plant in Crewe and the developer said that it will benefit from an upgrading of the A500, which is being widened in preparation for Crewe’s HS2 station. First Panattoni development director Dan Burns said: “This is the only building of its size available along the vital M6 and confirms our commitment to speculatively develop major
logistics warehousing across the north west and Yorkshire.” First Panattoni was created last year as a joint venture between giant US developer Panattoni, which claims to be the largest privately-owned industrial developer in the world, and Midlands-based First Industrial. It recently opened a northern office in Manchester to exploit opportunities along the M6, M62 and M1 corridors. The Crewe project is part of a speculative development programme totalling 3 million sq ft that First Panattoni is undertaking in 2018 – other projects include warehouses in Wolverhampton and Nottingham.
STEEL WORKS: Peel Logistics Property has been given the go-ahead by Sheffield City Council to develop an 839,000sq ft logistics park on the site of the former Outokumpu steel works. The first phase of the development, off junction 34 of the M1, will consist of two buildings of 45,000sq ft and 134,000sq ft respectively and has been granted full consent. Peel is aiming to be installed on-site later in the year. Phase two of the scheme, which totals 660,000sq ft, has gained outline planning consent. Peel Logistics Property chief investment officer Neil Dickinson said: “We are pleased to have secured planning permission on this prime site, which is ideally positioned to serve both national and urban logistics occupiers as well as the local and regional market.” The development is being marketed by Knight Frank, CBRE and Moriarty & Co. 13.8.18
RTP – a business’s best friend A Jane Gorick Co-founder Packaging Services Europe
cross the globe, returnable transit packaging (RTP) is rapidly becoming the packaging method of choice for businesses. Indeed, according to a recent report published by business consultancy specialist Smithers Group, the global RTP industry will be worth $271bn (£210bn) by 2019. This is driven by the desire for businesses to reduce the thousands of tonnes of one-trip transit packaging that is disposed of annually, as consumers become more aware of packaging pollution. The basic principle of RTP is that it is designed for use on more than one trip between supplier and customer. However, switching to RTP will only bring benefits if the packaging is actually re-used. A key factor to the success of the re-use is developing a well-managed and controlled logistics system for the distribution and return of the RTP. Central to a business’s decision to embrace RTP is whether or not it saves money overall. While it is likely costs will be higher upfront, there are
significant opportunities to realise a return on investment. RTP is built to last and is more durable than its single-use counterparts. This offers goods and products a better level of protection during transit. Therefore a reduction in risk is realised through mitigating damage. Furthermore, the integrity of RTP means there is not only future potential to look at increasing automation in handling, but also to take advantage of tracking systems such as barcodes or RFID. The key to maximising RTP’s return on investment is making sure assets are controlled so losses are kept to a minimum; that the design is not over-engineered but delivers product longevity; and that there is a solid reverse logistics solution that also inspects, washes and maintains the equipment. RTP can deliver significant commercial drivers for businesses, so it pays to keep it in top condition.
Get on your bike and help save lives W Steve Hobson Editor Motor Transport
ith 2019 being one of the hottest and driest summers on record, chances are June 2019 will see torrential downpours and strong winds. But don’t let that put you off signing up for Transaid’s latest and possibly greatest fundraiser – a 972-mile cycle ride across Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG). The event marks Transaid’s 20th anniversary and kicks off on 11 June, so there is plenty of time to get in shape. You also don’t have to do the whole 12-day trip as it has been split into four three-day stages. MT has teamed up with colleagues across Road Transport Towers to enter a four-man relay team to take on the challenge, which includes myself, Commercial Motor editor Will Shiers, RTM MD Andy Salter and exhibition manager Steve Cox, whom many of you will have met at the CV Show, Tip-ex or any number of our range of excellent events. None of us are exactly mega fit at the moment, and while Coxy has already completed LEJOG in
14 MotorTransport MTR_130818_014.indd 14
reverse – the hard way – this is going to be quite a challenge for all of us. Will and I have both done Transaid cycle rides in Africa, which were just as tough in their own way as they involved riding on rough roads in sometimes unbearably high temperatures. As well as raising money, completing one of these trips in Africa gives riders a real insight into the essential work Transaid is doing to reduce the shocking death toll among truck and bus drivers there. Read the article on page 16 to see just how vital this work is and how supporting Transaid makes a huge difference to the lives of people who may be out of sight but should not be out of mind, and then sign up for LEJOG. As well as doing a good thing, you will get to see four middle-aged blokes from RTM suffer!
The newspaper for transport operators
To contact us: Tel: 020 8912 +4 digits or email: email@example.com Editor Steve Hobson 2161 Editor-in-chief Christopher Walton 2163 Group news editor Chris Druce 2158 Deputy news editor Emma Shone 2164 Group technical editor Colin Barnett 2141 Aftermarket editor Roger Brown 2168 Vans editor George Barrow 2156 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com, 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 mtssubs.com 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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Drive and survive Driver training is paramount for safety, but in places such as Zambia it is little more than a basic function. Transaid is changing that, as Ian Norwell reports
16 MotorTransport MTR_130818_016-017.indd 16
ransaid’s work is well known to MT readers, and sister title CM editor’s rear end still bears marks from his fundraising cycle ride in South Africa last year. It has the reasonable goal that no driver should leave for work with a high probability of not coming home. In most of sub-Saharan Africa, deaths and serious injury from road traffic collisions jostle for position with malaria and HIV/AIDS for victims. So what is Transaid doing in Zambia? Working with a modest truck and bus training fleet, Transaid is partnered with the government-approved Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Lusaka to deliver high-quality training. There are other quick-and-dirty alternatives locally, but the ITC has established a reputation for turning out safer drivers, and a certificate from it carries weight with fleet managers. Victor Simfukwe, Transaid project manager in Lusaka, says: “We’ve trained 7,500 drivers here in the past five years, and this will be having
an effect in neighbouring countries too.” The fleet certainly is basic. It manages with just over half a dozen category C rigids, a C+E tractor-trailer and a single 12m coach. We join a small party of Transaid’s corporate members who were looking at the progress being made. Among them is Alan Thornton, commercial director of Renfrewshire-based Malcolm Logistics, who is also there to officially hand over a donated Volvo FM12 6x2 tractor. The 2005 specimen will now live another life at the ITC. Thornton comments: “Seeing with my own eyes where this truck will be working, and the enthusiasm of the trainees here, is a humbling experience.” But after trainees have qualified, what awaits them? Our first impressions are that the roads are in reasonably good shape, out of town at least. But the full picture emerges as we travel 400km north-east to visit Transaid’s anti-malaria project in Serenje (see panel). In town, poor surfaces, with sudden 13.8.18
HELPING HANDS: Malcolm Logistics commercial director Alan Thornton (above) in front of the donated Volvo, and Industrial Training Centre driver trainer Derick Nalumpa (top)
catastrophic carriageway failures, are mixed with major intersections where nose-first-goesfirst applies. Collisions happen, but they are not often fatal.
But the long-distance major trunk roads are a different matter. Almost all are single carriageway and well surfaced, with only the occasional ruinous pothole. The government sees to it that they are kept up to snuff, as they are industrial arteries. Trucks and buses dominate here, but the rural communities that the roads pass through treat them as a marketplace, with roadside stalls selling maize, sweet potatoes and charcoal. It is an unhealthy and dangerous proximity, but if you have walked along these roads to school since you were four or five, you have become inured to the threat. We witness the inevitable result, 360km north-east of Lusaka. A long black wide stripe of rubber, a forlorn single shoe left on the highway, and the body of a young child under a sheet at the roadside. The gathering crowd and the women still running to the scene with phones to their ears, as the dreadful news spreads. This single example of many hit us squarely between the eyes. Pedestrians and cyclists of all ages are playing Russian roulette here, every day. The biggest trucks are the ‘interlinks’ that 13.8.18
feed the Copperbelt mines with machinery and supplies, and carry the ingots away. At 56 tonnes and 22m, they are essentially a 3-axle tractor hauling two tandem-axle trailers, using two fifth-wheel couplings. Drivers who are typically paid per job, unencumbered by a tachograph, are on a mission. The ITC accents these dangers in its training, but communities must learn too. The training fleet at the ITC gets a lot of bang for its buck. With just a few more resources, a lot more could be done. The Volvo FM12 from Malcolm Logistics will have an effect, but it is still a shoestring affair. We ask the acting director of the ITC, Lloyd Mbasela, which vehicles would be on his wish list. Throwing up his hands with a flashing smile, he says: “Almost anything!” Pressed, he admits that its PSV training is in dire need of another chassis. Its current lone 12m coach, donated by loyal supporter Stagecoach many years ago, is a Jonckheere-bodied Volvo that looks like it has been in a war zone. Several deceased semitrailers adorn the yard, and there is no sign of a tanker. But there are big numbers of fuel tankers on the highways here, so if any petrochemical fleet manager in the UK has an aged tanker that is beyond their own use, this would be the perfect home for it. If you are in any doubt, just ask Alan Thornton if it’s worth doing. ■
Malaria has two strains, with the severe type a confirmed killer. One child dies from it every 70 seconds worldwide, and of those 1,219 daily deaths, 90% are in sub-Saharan Africa. Transaid has joined a consortium of partners to put in place medicines and the transport systems to cut these numbers. A newly World Health Organizationapproved drug, Artesunate, is proving to be effective, but it must be administered quickly. Jade Ashby, Transaid’s corporate partnerships officer, tells us: “Getting community chiefs, elders and senior matriarchs to understand and accept that a new tradition – transport and drugs – should replace their old traditions, was a breakthrough.” The complex 12-month project involved training for community health volunteers, and the riders of bicycle ambulances, as well as the stocking of health centres with the drugs. Why bicycle ambulances? In the rainy season (October to March) when mosquitoes and malaria are at their worst, rural roads are often washed away, and impassable, even to 4x4s. The bicycle ambulance, with a covered single-axle trailer, can avoid the quagmires and deftly steer through the lightly wooded surrounding land. Simple is best here. But speed is of the essence too. Alerted to a suspected malaria case, a community health volunteer administers a preliminary dose of Artesunate onsite, as a vital pre-referral move. A swift transfer by bicycle ambulance to a health facility for the injectable form of the drug, and a positive outcome is almost guaranteed. In a project covering a population of 54,000, the stats show a 96% decrease in severe malaria deaths in the under-sixes since the project began. Transaid chief executive Caroline Barber says: “What greater tribute can there be, to all the agencies that have come together on this project, than to have such spectacular results. The challenge now is to secure scale-up funding to spread the benefits much wider in other communities.” ● The full Mobilize Against Malaria consortium is: Transaid; Health Partners Zambia; National Malaria Elimination Centre; the District Health Management Team; Development Data and Disacare; with funding from Medicines for Malaria Venture.
On the cards
In what is an increasingly crowded market, fuel card providers are having to add a range of different services to their offering to stand out. Simon Jack looks at what’s available
uel cards offer a cost-efficient and convenient method of buying fuel, allowing operators to gain discounts and simplifying the purchasing process for drivers. But increasingly there are other benefits that can add to the attraction for many companies, as fuel card providers differentiate themselves in what is a crowded market. Management information, accessible online, can increase visibility of what is being spent – and where – and it is becoming easier to add different services to the card. Drivers can often now use their card to pay for road tolls, roadside assistance, parking and overnight accommodation as well as products such as AdBlue and lubricants. The ability to analyse the pattern of fuel purchases can provide vital information about how different vehicles and drivers are performing and how much fuel they are using.
Ad hoc and exception reports
Watson Fuelcards, part of energy company World Fuel Services, offers cards from the Keyfuels, UK Fuels, Shell, Esso and Texaco networks. Fuelcard director Andrew Watson says that, as well as standard information, hauliers are able to produce ad hoc and exception reports that are relevant to their particular business. “Customers can create their own reports based on unique requirements, in response to
a specific business need. This means gathering relevant business management information for specific periods, investigating certain incidents or understanding certain trends within their own fleets,” Watson says. One of the most important functions that fuel cards offer is accountability of all fuel purchases. This is vital, according to Paul Holland, chief commercial officer of Fleetcor, which owns the Keyfuels and Allstar brands. “This functionality is particularly important should a card be given to third parties, such as an agency driver or sub-contractor,” he says. “The information fuel cards provide on fuel consumption enables operators to spot those vehicles in their fleet that are heavier on fuel usage. This may be down to an increase in the load weight they are carrying, the type of vehicle they are driving, mechanical defects or potential issues with fuel purchasing.” For any management information to be of use it is important that reports are readily accessible and easy to understand. This is the aim of a new portal, My Fleet Hub, being introduced by fuel card agent Fuel Card Services. Users can manage old and new cards more easily, view two years of account or card transactions, see detailed reports on fuel expenditure and up to six years of invoices and statements. By downloading an app drivers are able to find the nearest filling station in their network to avoid detours and unnecessary mileage. Jessica Wort, marketing manager at Fuel
Card Services, comments: “It allows more visibility about what is being spent in the fuel account rather than having to wait for an invoice.” Another card provider, UK Fuels, also offers a range of management information, via an app called Velocity. Regional director Jonathan Haseler explains: “This allows hauliers to have complete control of their fuel card usage and spend, preventing fraud and making abnormal trends visible, ensuring drivers aren’t overspending or wasting fuel. “That, along with the provision of average fuel use per journey, enables fleet managers to know approximately how much fuel should be used on a specific route.” The RHA and FTA both offer their members fuel cards developed in conjunction with Fleetcor, which provide management information online. In the RHA’s case its reporting suite highlights inefficiencies and indicates areas where driver and vehicle performance could be optimised.
Online account management
The FTA’s online account management is delivered through its e-flex service, which can be combined with telematics data to measure the efficiency of individual vehicles and can provide driver MPG figures. Some hauliers have their own bulk bunker tanks at their depots for the majority of journeys and only use cards when they need to top up when out on the road. However, even here cards can provide useful information if they are used for both the internal and external fill-ups. Downton, for example, draws most of its diesel at its own depots but uses Keyfuels cards to purchase fuel, where necessary. It is then able to download information about mpg. MD Andy Downton explains: “The same card is used to draw from our own depot bulk tanks, so all data is integrated.” 18 MotorTransport MTR_130818_018-019.indd 18
Image: Michel Cecconi
NOT JUST FOR FUEL
A similar approach is taken by Massey Wilcox, which uses a Shell fuel card for both drawings at its own site and on the road – around 10-20% is drawn away from the depot. MD Robert Wilcox comments: “A report generated by Shell incorporates both on-road and depot drawings per card.” As well as management information, the ability to restrict access to certain products, locations and times can be a useful weapon in controlling fuel expenditure and is possible with a number of cards. For example, Fleetcor has developed a system called ControlMax for use with its Keyfuels cards. It can set the amount the driver is able to spend, the volume of fuel bought and the number of transactions that can be made. It is also possible to differentiate between types of driver – for example a delivery driver and an executive driving to a meeting – and their spending options. The RHA fuel card uses this technology to enable hauliers to set when, where and how much fuel drivers can draw. Likewise AS24, a subsidiary of Total, allows users to set a number of controls, as Roland Suanion, AS24’s MD for the UK and Ireland, explains. 13.8.18
“Through the online tool, the client can set alerts in order to monitor the level of spending, for example so that they know immediately if the driver is spending more than he should or they can set up when and where he should use his card,” he comments.
AS24 is also able to supply details of the place, time, product and quantity of a transaction that a driver has made. This is available in real time and in a format chosen by the haulier. It is also possible to identify different sites that drivers can use with their card. Watson Fuelcards’ Andrew Watson says: “There’s the option to limit transactions by ‘white-listing’ and ‘black-listing’ certain sites and to go further and create mini-networks within networks.” Security is another consideration and UK Fuels can enable fleet managers or administrators to freeze or cancel cards if they think fraud or misuse is taking place. Such control can play a vital part in operating efficiently and is one of a number of by-products of using fuel cards that can produce important additional benefits for hauliers. ■
The use of cards for purchases other than fuel is becoming more extensive and allows greater control over a range of transactions, while removing the need for drivers and operators to collect a complex array of receipts. Watson Fuelcards’ Andrew Watson says: “Cards on certain networks can be used for road toll, car wash, lubricant and AdBlue purchases. Customers have the option to restrict these to specific vehicles and drivers.” Fleetcor’s Keyfuels card can also be used to control purchases of vehiclerelated products and services and, in the case of Allstar, it is possible to give drivers a Visa card called Allstar Plus, which can be used to cover on-the-road costs. Unlike a standard credit card, purchases can be controlled by the type of merchant, says Paul Holland. “For example, one driver could only be able to purchase parking, whereas another may be able to pay for parking as well as tolls and overnight accommodation,” he explains. UK Fuels also offers a credit card, called the Velos Mastercard, which provides three levels of expenditure from fuel and road tolls up to payment of all expenses. AS24 provides access to a number of services, including tolls on highways across Europe, as well as parking lots, bridges and truck-dedicated washing stations. In addition, support for breakdowns is available on a 24/7 basis. Access to good-quality truckstops is becoming an important issue for hauliers as they try to attract and retain staff. UK Fuels’ Velocity portal includes an online site locator called e-route, which provides information about the nearest fuel stations and the facilities they offer. “Currently, there are more than 580 HGV-accessible sites on the network, of which more than 280 are open 24 hours,” regional director Jonathan Haseler says. Fuel Card Services also offers access to truck stops via its Diesel Direct card, which can be used for truck parking at any EuroTruckPark site around the UK. “It provides an extra level of security for both drivers and operators,” says marketing manager Jessica Wort. There are other ways to find overnight services and parking. Cashless payment provider SNAP Account, which uses a truck’s registration to authorise transactions, has tie-ups with several fuel card providers including Morgan Fuels, UTA, DKV, Keyfuels and BP UK. Drivers can use their cards to pay for parking and washing at any of the sites on SNAP’s network. It does not currently offer fuel as part of its own services. However, marketing and events manager Emma Westwood says: “We are always developing our systems and looking for new ways to increase efficiency for our customers so, although we don’t offer our customers a fuel option through SNAP at present, we wouldn’t say never.” MotorTransport 19
MT Awards 2018 winner profile Fleet Truck of the Year
MAN of the m o Don’t be so surprised... MAN’s TGX has been transformed and is well worthy of a winner’s trophy
t’s fair to say that a few eyebrows raised in the Grosvenor House on 4 July, when the MAN TGX was crowned Fleet Truck of the Year. After all, how can this oldtimer, with its somewhat poor reputation for reliability, beat the bullet-proof Scania P-series, the modern slippery lines of the Mercedes-Benz Actros and the market-leading Daf CF? Quite easily, according to our panel of expert judges. Firstly, let’s look at reliability. It’s no secret that the truck maker had some problems in the UK with its “no AdBlue” EGR-only D20 and D26 EGR engines at Euro-4 and Euro-5. In fact, Thomas Hemmerich, MD of MAN Truck & Bus UK, is the first to acknowledge this. He’ll also hold his hands up and admit that the company might not have reacted as quickly as it could have to the complaints. But he’s the first to assure UK customers that reliability issues are well and truly a thing of the past, and believes the current range of Euro-6 engines to be hugely reliable. These sentiments were echoed by our judges, who universally deemed the current TGX to
be a hugely reliable and competent truck. What’s more, they reckoned it to be fuel efficient too. Some waxed lyrical about its “frugal fuel economy”, and “class-leading AdBlue consumption”, while another claimed it to be the most efficient truck on a mixed fleet.
What about the age of the truck, which, after all, can trace its origins to the beginning of the century? Not only isn’t this a concern, but the TGX’s maturing years probably work in its favour. Like a fine wine, it just gets better with age. There’s an all-new TGX replacement coming next year, but there’s still plenty of life left in the current model. Although the cab was launched in 2000, what’s inside it is bang up to date. In fact, last year the interior got a complete refresh (below). Instantly noticeable is the new lighter dashboard, which gives the cab an airier feel. The fridge now sits flush with the bunk, freeing up floor space, and the dashboard has a brighter LED display. The changes are hardly revolutionary, but
are welcome nonetheless, and enhance the overall ambience. Our judges were certainly impressed. “It’s really comfortable, and drivers love it,” said one. “I’m impressed that they listened to feedback on the position of the fridge. And the gearbox controls have been repositioned on the dashboard, safely out of harm’s way, freeing up more space on the floor.” Also new is the ZF TraXon (TipMatic) gearbox. Previously MAN’s 2-pedal transmissions never really impressed us, and we have memories of them being indecisive and a bit crude, often resulting in the truck lurching at roundabouts. Well, that’s definitely a thing of the past. This latest TipMatic is nothing like its predecessor. It’s considerably faster and the shifting pattern is far more intelligent. What you do with your foot dictates exactly how the gearbox responds. Feather the throttle and plan ahead, and block changes are in abundance. Treat it like a getaway car and TipMatic reacts accordingly. The speed of the shifts is impressive too, which is especially welcome on steep gradients. TraXon interacts with the engine brake to make these faster changes, rapidly bringing down the revs to enable block shifts. On some inclines the revs can drop down to 900rpm, which is a characteristic of the lowrevving, high-torque D20 and D26 engines. Although there’s a big temptation to manually override TipMatic, you soon learn to trust it, and leave well alone. One of our judges agreed, describing the gearbox as “smart”, adding “I don’t see a reason why any driver would need to bother with the manual override.”
In the past we criticised the TGX for its lack of urgency when slowing down at junctions, with TipMatic failing to change down quick enough. TraXon has improved this no end. Today when you brake aggressively the truck senses your urgency, rapidly downshifting and applying the engine brake to protect itself. If, however, you are sympathetic, and feather the brake, the truck applies the engine brake in the gear it is in. It really is incredibly intelligent. Full marks to MAN’s EfficientRoll too, which selects neutral whenever it gets the chance, 20 MotorTransport MTR_130818_020-021.indd 20
m oment causing the engine to run on idle fuel, achieving 120mpg in the process. It’s fully integrated with MAN’s GPS-controlled EfficientCruise and is one of many great features this truck has to offer. But this well-deserved win can’t be attributed purely to the truck, and our judges also believed the dealer network to be much improved. “We have always had a good relationship with our local dealer, but it’s recently improved further,” said one. “And it’s the same story with Swindon [MAN Truck & Bus UK’s head office]. They have a really positive attitude and are happy to listen.”
Put simply, the TGX has undergone a serious transformation in the past year or two, as has MAN Truck & Bus UK. If you were one of many doing Roger Moore impressions with your eyebrows at the awards, we can only assume that you haven’t driven a TGX for a few years. Why not get in touch with your local dealer and get your hands on a demo vehicle now, before it’s too late? You might be pleasantly surprised. n
THOMAS HEMMERICH ON WINNING MAN Truck & Bus UK MD Thomas Hemmerich (right, accepting the award), says: “I’m delighted to accept this award and see it as a true indication that the MAN TGX, our dealer network and the customer service packages we offer, are exactly what the market demands. At MAN we pride ourselves in delivering our customers a range of vehicles that are fuel efficient, technologically advanced, safe and robust, which in turn are supported by a range of customer services that offer real tangible business benefits. “The MAN TGX has found favour with countless fleets across the UK and this award helps recognise the fact that we both deliver and support a range of vehicles that our customers can rely on and value. We’re sure the TGX had to fight off stiff competition from the other shortlisted manufacturers, however the judges’ comments not only focused on the product but on MAN’s ability to listen to customer feedback and react, and in doing so clearly demonstrate a higher level of customer support.” 13.8.18
MT Awards 2018 winner profile Fleet Van of the Year
Proud Partner Winner of this year’s Fleet Van of the Year award was the Peugeot Partner, praised for its build quality and the fact that both diesel and electric versions are available to inner city operators
f the true marker of a fleet van is the company you’ll find it in, then it’s surprising that the Peugeot Partner has never before won the Motor Transport Fleet Van of the Year because it can be found in many enormous fleets. You may not have realised, or even noticed it, but your postman probably drives one and perhaps the person from the council fixing the street lights or trimming the hedges does too. The Peugeot Partner has been making gains, particularly with fleets. Once a fringe player in the highly competitive city van segment, the Partner’s fortunes have been rejuvenated since it was facelifted in 2015. The new appearance undoubtedly helped, differentiating it further from the Citroën Berlingo cousin with which it shares a platform, but a more dedicated approach to LCVs was also behind the increase. Investment in the dealer network has paid dividends. Sitting between the tiny Bipper and larger Expert and Boxer vans, the Partner has proved to be a useful model within the portfo-
lio, increasing sales in 2017 and continuing to do so in 2018. “Last year saw Partner sales grow by nearly 7%, a trend that accelerated into 2018,” said Louise Neilson, head of Peugeot business sales. “Partner sales grew by an incredible 61% in the first three months of 2018, not bad for a model that has been on sale for 12 years and is about to be replaced with a new model that we believe is even better.”
“We are particularly looking forward to the New Partner’s arrival. Order books open in September and the new van will benefit from increased payload and many new technologies. It’s the first van in its class to offer an Overload Alert System to guard against accidental overloading. The Surround Rear Vision system helps to avoid accidents and damage to the rear of the new Partner by using cameras to help eliminate blind spots. With other new technologies and power options, we are confident that New Partner will build on the success of
the current model,” Neilson added. The replacement of the Peugeot Partner later this year was a contentious issue among the judges who were hesitant in awarding Fleet Van of the Year to a model that will soon be replaced. Yet its much improved reliability and competitive price were just part of the reason why they decided in its favour. While upfront costs are often a key factor in fleet purchasing, the Partner also offers a competitive total cost of ownership and with an electric version gaining popularity, several of the fleet engineers on our panel expressed a keen interest in the growing uptake of the zero-emission variant. Neilson said: “We have seen some positive moves with fleet sales for the Partner. For instance, recent orders for Partner Electric have been delivered to Swansea Council and Royal Mail, totalling more than 130 vehicles. Utilities company SMS has also recently taken on a large fleet of Partners and there are more large orders in the pipeline.”
The mid-life alterations made to the vehicle gave it an updated front-end, while improvements were made to standard safety features. The multi-flex passenger seat allows longer load lengths to be carried by folding the seat forward and flat. Professional models have a touchscreen, DAB radio and a separate TomTom sat-nav. Also updated was the 1.6-litre HDi engine to meet Euro-6 emissions requirements. Available in 75hp, 100hp and 120hp outputs, it’s a strong-performing unit returning exceptionally high miles to the gallon – the bestperforming model has a claimed consumption of 68.9mpg. A 5-speed manual is fitted as standard, but there’s the option of a 6-speed electronically controlled Peugeot ETG automated transmission. Maximum payload is 850kg for the shortwheelbase van, dropping to 750kg for the longwheelbase version. These have a 3.3cu m and 3.7cu m load volume, respectively. As with all shared-platform vans, many would 22 MotorTransport MTR_130818_022-023.indd 22
argue that a victory for the Peugeot Partner is a shared victory for the Citroën Berlingo too. While there is little to differentiate between the two products, the support offered by Peugeot elevated the Partner above its sibling and the competition.
Business Centre network
“Our dealer network now stands at 186, of which 55 are Business Centres,” Neilson said. “While all Peugeot dealers handle light CV sales, the Business Centre network has been created specifically to deal with local business needs. Partner has developed an enviable rep-
utation for reliability with customers and there is no doubt that this has helped to boost fleet and SME sales.” The greatly improved electric model was also a significant reason behind the Partner’s success. After winning customers across fleets, operators are taking notice of both the combustion engine and zero-emission versions of the van. With its small footprint the Partner is ideal for inner city operators, and the availability of an electric powertrain means they can have the same product across the fleet, even those operating in a low-emission zone. Our judges commented on the great build quality of the
vehicle, but also the increasing driver acceptance of both diesel and electric vans. Traditionally dominated by 3.5-tonne vans, it is often surprising when the MT Fleet Van of the Year is a smaller LCV. However, such is the new-found respect for the product none of the panel batted an eyelid when the Peugeot Partner’s name was brought into contention. One judge even remarked: “As the market sector migrates down the GVW range, this is the strongest product available in the sector.” Truly a sign of its current success and, with the new model just around the corner, its future potential. ■
Careers: Royal Mail
Royal Mail has joined up with Think Logistics to tell students about career opportunities in logistics. Steve Hobson reports
Back to school R
oyal Mail employs approximately 141,000 employees and needs a constant flow of new recruits to join the business at all levels. Nadine Kemp, senior people business partner – central logistics teams – at Royal Mail, is a big fan of the Think Logistics programme to get the message about career opportunities in logistics to students at schools and colleges. She is now recruiting and training a group of Royal Mail managers to deliver Think Logistics workshops. Kemp says: “I got involved with Think Logistics and went to a couple of workshops, which I found frustrating because we’ve got this opportunity, yet we didn’t have the people to deliver it.”
Getting in touch
Think Logistics works with not-for-profit organisation Career Ready to put employers in touch with schools and help facilitate the half-day classroom sessions that give students a taste of what logistics is about. “We’ve got a list of mentors who had been identified through some previous activity with Career Ready,” says Kemp. “I did a scoping exercise and we have potentially 30 people who are willing to run a [Think Logistics] workshop.” Kemp organised a session explaining what the Think Logistics programme involves, starting with a visit to a local school or college to run the workshop with a class of students. This can be intimidating for managers not used to dealing with groups of school-age children. 24 MotorTransport MTR_130818_024.indd 24
Think Logistics is a generic programme rather than designed to be company-specific; but as the national postal operator Royal Mail is slightly unusual and will include some Royal Mail-specific content in its presentations.
Range of experience
The individuals who have volunteered to deliver workshops range from graduate trainee managers to experienced managers from across the business. “Some of our grads have said, ‘yes, I’d like to be part of it’ and then we’ve got all sorts of managers who sit in sales, customer experience and distribution,” says Kemp. “Some of them are in very senior roles with good packages that relate back to the story that we’re trying to tell.” While Think Logistics is a national programme, and Royal Mail will deliver a workshop anywhere in the UK, Kemp is focusing on the north west and East Midlands hotspots where recruitment is particularly difficult. The programme is aimed at presenting opportunities at all levels and in all parts of the business. “We’re not targeting any specific job role,” Kemp says. “It’s a very generic message. It’s trying to outline the opportunities starting from part-time Saturday support at Christmas that could progress to whatever role they wanted to do. Then we have graduates across all functions including operations, finance and project management.” The next step in the programme is to invite students whose interest was caught by the workshop to visit a Royal Mail site and learn
more about the various career opportunities. “We’re working on a ‘logistics in motion’ day where we could have 25 students come along, watch a presentation and then go and have a look around the facility,” said Kemp. “We’re looking to trial this in two sites by March 2019.” As well as its 141,000 full-time staff, Royal Mail takes on thousands of additional casual workers to cope with the Christmas peak. Last year the company took on 20,000 workers. As the privatised Royal Mail continues to invest in new technology, that will change the nature of the skills it needs to attract and develop. “Automation will not necessarily reduce our workforce but it may change the type of role that a person has,” says Kemp. “If we’re going down the route of further automation in centres, then the skill sets we’re looking for will change to fall in line.”
Behind the scenes
While everyone in the UK knows Royal Mail, the perception of what goes on behind the scenes to enable the postmen and women to complete their delivery rounds is not as well known. “I don’t think people register Royal Mall as being a logistics company,” says Kemp. “That’s the image that they see and while it’s a really crucial part of our pipeline, behind that job, there are 101 other types of roles. So if you’re interested in HR, finance, programming and IT, or whether you want to be an operational manager or a driver, for us it’s about delivering a story that says we’re more than the delivery person that you see in the street.” ■ 13.8.18
S GI RE W O N
6 November 2018 | Alexandra Palace, London As cities strive to improve air quality through the rollout of clean air zones, freight operators must step up to the low-emission challenge or face the prospect of significant fines to enter urban areas. But which technology should operators be focusing on? How is vehicle design changing to comply with urban regulations tackling emissions and safety? What can operators do to adapt their delivery methods to suit modern cities? Will there be a shift in the design of urban logistics hubs and warehousing? Our seminar programme will address these and other topical issues. Alongside this, the exhibition takes place in Alexandra Palaceâ€™s Great Hall, showcasing the newest vehicles, equipment, and technology to emerge onto the market to make urban deliveries cleaner, safer and quieter.
6 November 2018 Alexandra Palace, London Register for your free place today www.freightinthecity.com
Craig Eddy joins CitySprint By Carol Millett
Same-day courier service CitySprint has taken on former Royal Mail regional manager Craig Eddy as director of operations. Eddy’s brief is to help drive growth in the firm’s final-mile operations while maintaining service levels. He will also manage CitySprint’s fleet across all the firm’s operational centres. In the 19 years Eddy spent with Royal Mail he progressed from depot manager to his most recent post as regional east of England manager, where he managed the day-to-day operations of 18 collection depots, including a 240-plus fleet and 850 staff. Commenting on his appointment at CitySprint, Eddy said: “This is a fresh challenge at an organisation with an excellent reputation and I cannot wait to see what possibilities lie ahead – not just for me personally, but also for CitySprint as a business. “To drive change and growth in such an established business, while providing customers with a seam-
less, top-tier service, is an incredible opportunity.” CitySprint chief operating officer Paul Gisbourne said: “It is vital that we have the right people on board to support our continuing development. Craig has proven skills and many years’ experience in the sector, and his record of managing large teams and driving growth means he has the insight and experience needed to ensure further success in the future. I have no doubt that he will be an invaluable asset to the CitySprint team.” Eddy arrives at CitySprint as it continues to be embroiled in legal action against its employment practices. Last year a tribunal ruled that CitySprint courier Maggie Dewhurst was entitled to basic rights including holiday pay and the National Living Wage. In April this year the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain filed a £200,000 holiday pay claim for three CitySprint workers. The union claims the claimants are employees rather than independent contractors.
BIG BUSINESS: Walkers Transport has recruited a group business analyst to facilitate growth at the company. Nick Atkinson joins the business after 12 years working on medical device supply chains. In his new role at Walkers he will manage, prepare and distribute data sets for the operator’s Leeds and Manchester operations. Atkinson said: “My aim is to help Walkers fulfil their ambitions through harnessing the power of technology to enhance the customer experience. In the not-too-distant future we will be able to visualise our performance measurements not just in the boardroom but in our warehouses and other facilities too.” Group finance director David Bywater said: “This isn’t a typical appointment for a transport firm. However, Walkers is at a critical growth point, so having Nick on board will help the team fully understand our figures and business performance. Ultimately he’ll provide information that will enable senior management to make more informed decisions – vital if we’re to achieve growth in revenue and profit.”
ArrowXL opens in-house training academy ArrowXL has built a £50,000, in-house training academy complete with a purpose-built apartment for developing its two-person delivery crews. The Development Academy’s flat, housed at the company’s Wigan headquarters, contains a working kitchen, a living room, a child’s bedroom, and two classrooms. Its two-person crews will be able to practise deliv-
26 MotorTransport MTR_130818_026.indd 26
eries in the space, as well as receive training on specialist services including plumbing-in white goods, assembling furniture and connecting televisions. The business will be building a similar training facility at its Worcester site, which is due to open next year after the previous building on the site was destroyed by a fire last April. ArrowXL will induct all new starters with a twoday programme in the training academy, which will house all of the business’s teaching in the future. Existing employees will also be required to take a refresher session in the apartment before the end of this year. Peter Scraton, people and support services director at ArrowXL, said the academy not only represents an investment in its customers, but in its employees. “We are committed to delivering world-class levels of service and this can only be achieved by having engaged and motivated colleagues. We are determined to have the most skilful and proficient delivery crews in the two-person market and this apartment will play a vital role in delivering that.”
Staffing Matters By David Coombes
It’s time to take advantage of the Apprenticeship Levy Brexit. The word has become synonymous with uncertainty. Regardless of your political leanings, the UK’s current state of affairs is nail-biting. So too is the state of the wider world, with trade wars flaring, diplomatic arrangements creaking and new technologies promising global labour disruption. How as an employer, or indeed an employee, can you provide yourself with some semblance of security? I have seen ostriches with their heads in the sand and I have seen rabbits caught in the headlights. I guarantee you those who will succeed in these wayward times are those who graft. If your company hasn’t taken advantage of the Apprenticeship Levy, now is the time to act. It is not a perfect system, it is still being iterated by government and uptake has been slow. However, it should not be viewed as a tax but an opportunity. Use it to inject young talent, diverse skills – such as digital marketing – and upskill existing staff. Give your team the skills they need to weather the bumps in the road ahead. If you, as an employee, want to upskill, talk to your manager about the levy. Ask them to email us if they are unsure how it works. Apprenticeships have changed radically, with level 2 to degree and masters equivalents. Be paid to learn at a time when the industry is short on the skills it needs. There are also free qualifications you can take that can help you upskill immediately, such as a level 2 customer service qualification. Such a qualification adds sparkle to your CV and is desirable in the modern age where digital tech brings you closer than ever to your customer. Whether you are an employer looking for direction or a worker seeking the next step, ping us an email. We are here to help.
Skillsforlogistics.co.uk Contact@skillsforlogistics.co.uk 0117 927 8800 @skill_logistics 13.8.18
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Motor Transport is a bi-monthly logistics publication specialising in road transport.