Container haulage specialist appoints Financial Controller

Container haulage specialist appoints Financial Controller

22.6.2022 | Haulage

Container haulage specialist appoints Financial Controller

Katrina Howieson joins VKVP Haulage’s senior management team.

VKVP Haulage has appointed Katrina Howieson as its new financial controller, effective immediately, continuing to fulfil its strategic vision for the company.

Responsible for managing the company’s finance team, its processes and reporting structures, Katrina has over 17 years of experience and works directly with VKVP’s senior management to further develop the business.

Mark Bennett, operations director at VKVP, comments: “Katrina is a real asset to our team and her experience working across a range of industries, including IT, construction, and of course shipping, enables her to bring a broader financial perspective to our operations.”

Katrina says: “I have joined VKVP Haulage at an exciting time; the business has an established position in the industry and is continuing to grow. Everyone at VKVP has a great can-do attitude and enthusiasm to move forward.  

“I’m looking forward to improving the business’s long and short-term growth strategies and supporting the directors who want to see efficiencies from a strong finance function.”

 Year-on-year growth has also seen VKVP Haulage progress its equipment investment programme, with new vehicles and trailers scheduled to join the fleet later this year.

 To find out more about VKVP Haulage, visit:

Ask your MP to press the Chancellor for a fuel duty rebate

Ask your MP to press the Chancellor for a fuel duty rebate

21.6.2022 | Haulage

Ask your MP to press the Chancellor for a fuel duty rebate

The RHA is calling on the Chancellor for a 15ppl fuel duty rebate for hauliers and coach operators. 

The Association is pressing the Treasury hard for this measure, to bring down rising operating costs, reduce inflationary pressures and boost the economy. Similar to schemes in several European countries and supported by a number of MPs. But it needs to get more parliamentarians on its side to help win the argument, so they’re asking you to help.

The RHA has produced a template email on its Contact your MP website, making a case for a 15ppl ‘essential user rebate’, which they urge you to send to your MP.

It would be helpful if you could add your own perspective on cost pressures and how a fuel duty rebate could make a difference to your business and beyond.

How it works

Click on this link and type in your postcode (this can be your home address or business address).

It will take you to the template page, where your MP’s details will be automatically populated.

Add your perspective to the message (feel free to amend as much as you want).

Press send.

If you live in a different constituency from where your business is based, feel free to send it to both MPs. The second time, you’ll need to go back to the landing page and type in the other postcode.

Rules moving paper reels causing you problems?

Rules moving paper reels causing you problems?

8.6.2022 | Haulage

Rules moving paper reels causing you problems?

New regulations mean firms transporting paper reels must place friction matting under them, leaving many firms little time to prepare.

The rules changed on 1 May – but DVSA communications have largely gone under the radar.

RHA members report practical and financial difficulties in complying, and some struggle to source the matting.

The DVSA is enforcing the regulations and new Secure Loading Guidance is being drafted.

The rules are amongst changes to the Categorisation of Defect.

The RHA believes the measures are impractical in many cases and are urging DVSA into taking action on their behalf.

They’ve been asked to gather evidence from RHA members to build a strong case to persuade the Health & Safety Executive to overturn the changes.

This is what they’re asking you to do if you’re affected

Tell them what challenges you face complying, such as:

Availability of matting
Practicalities of installing matting under reels
Driver/loader safety
Previous load securing instructions/measures imposed by customers
Anything else
Send us evidence of loading and securing procedures including photos of loaded vehicles showing securing methods.

Send responses to Malcolm Dodds, RHA’s Head of Technical Services – or contact him for more information.

Please say if you want your company details to remain confidential.

VKVP’s HGV visits Langer Primary Academy

VKVP’s HGV visits Langer Primary Academy

11.5.2022 | Haulage

VKVP’s HGV visits Langer Primary Academy

Felixstowe students gain insights into career opportunities in the logistics industry.

As part of its drive to inspire youngsters that the logistics sector is an attractive career choice, local hauliers, VKVP, recently visited Felixstowe’s Langer Primary Academy with one of its HGV vehicles.

Mark Bennett, VKVP’s operations director, explains: “Whilst HGVs are an everyday sight here in Felixstowe, it was great to visit the school and invite children from reception to year six to hop on board our truck and learn more about its size, capabilities, stopping distances and more.

“With 140 children involved, the trip was a resounding success. They all checked out the truck controls and learned more about life on the road, including an opportunity to check out the driver’s bunk accommodation.”

Lucy Beston, deputy head of Langer Primary Academy, says: “Without doubt, VKVP’s trip was the highlight of last term for the children and has been talked about ever since.

“Intrigued by the truck, the visit also provided the children with some great insights into career opportunities in the industry, over and above lorry driving.”

Mark Bennett adds: “We had a great time meeting all the youngsters, and as our second visit – we previously visited just before Christmas – it further cemented our relationship with the school.”

Tachograph: RHA calls for awareness on records to avoid £300 fines

Tachograph: RHA calls for awareness on records to avoid £300 fines

6.4.2022 | Haulage


Every driver must have 28 days of comprehensive records to avoid Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN).

The new regulation came into force in August 2020 – but there hasn’t been guidance issued yet by the DVSA on the issue.

The rules, which include the recording of sickness, leave and other work must now be recorded for the previous 28 days for each and every driver on one of the three recognised recording measures.

What should you do?
Recording can only be recorded on a digital tachograph and analogue tachograph or a printout from the tachograph with the drivers’ details printed on the front. There should be no breaks in the tachograph activity printouts.

The RHA is calling for drivers to be trained, educated and instructed on these new regulations. Staff using the analysis systems need to be refreshed on how to use it and enhance their software knowledge.

The analysis team will need to look for any errors in the breach of input and annual leave and sickness will need to be converted into hours. New drivers will need to do a manual entry when starting their first day driving.

It should be noted that drivers cannot record working time on timesheets, weekly logs, mobile devices and wage records or spare tachograph rolls. If recording on analogue charts for sick leave or annual leave, you will need one chart for each day.

Fines include £300 for tachograph infringements and falsifying drivers records with drivers stopped at the roadside fined for up to 5 offences at any one time – resulting in a £1500 fine overall.

Multiple offences could lead to a prison sentence.

For more detailed information, members can contact the RHA Helpdesk.

Source: RHA

Government data reveals “worrying lack” of younger HGV drivers as skills shortage remains “severe”

Government data reveals “worrying lack” of younger HGV drivers as skills shortage remains “severe”

3.4.2022 | Haulage

Government data reveals “worrying lack” of younger HGV drivers as skills shortage remains “severe”

Logistics community tackles driver under-30 age group retention rate. 

According to recent research*, the UK’s driver shortage is still at severe levels, with a worrying lack of recruits in the under-30 age group.

Tackling the driver shortage head-on, two of the East of England’s leading logistics companies address the driver shortage in very different but effective ways.

Mark Bennett, operations director of VKVP Haulage, says: “The report warns that the logistics industry and government must tackle the under-30 age group retention rate ‘as a priority’. He adds: “We urge the sector and government not to be lulled into complacency by this apparent abatement of the driver shortage.

“Given the extremely high churn rates, we only need haulage volumes to rise by a small increment to reignite the shortage crisis. To this end, we are visiting primary schools to generate interest in a career in the logistics industry, familiarise children with trucks and position a career in the industry as attractive and accessible.”

The issues include, but are not restricted to:

• The latest ONS research revealed that 8,000 HGV drivers left the under-30 age group in Q4, which, combined with previous pandemic losses, reduced the cohort to just 13,000 from a pre-pandemic level of 31,000.
• The ONS data also found that HGV drivers numbers rose by only 2,000 to 263,000 between Q3 and Q4, 39,000 lower than the pre-pandemic level of 301,000 in Q1 2020.
• This represents a churn of 67% when net additions from new test passes are considered.
• The Driver Require research also found that whilst EU HGV drivers increased by 3,000 to 33,000 in Q4, this is still 4,000 less than the pre-pandemic level of 37,000 EU drivers in Q1 2020.
• The plus side revealed that the number of HGV tests conducted in Q4 increased by 50% to 27,000, compared to a pre-pandemic average quarterly level of 18,000. In addition, 12,000 lapsed drivers returned to the 30-45 age group, aided by 3,000 new HGV test passes. The report concludes that whilst rising wage rates appear to have attracted back and retained the over-30 age group, it has not been enough to retain those drivers under-30, who have left for other job roles with better working conditions and hours.
• The report warns that the logistics industry and government must tackle the under-30 age group retention rate “as a priority.”
• The report concludes that at the end of 2021, the number of people declaring their occupation to be an HGV delivery driver remained approximately 39,000 below the pre-pandemic level of 301,000, i.e. a 13% reduction in the size of the pool. Assuming demand levels remain constant, the driver shortage did not improve over Q4 2021.
• The report says more than 55,000 HGV drivers have left the sector during the pandemic, approximately 18% of the original 300,000- strong workforce.
• Barriers that contribute to those under 30 not considering being an HGV driver an attractive option are cited as the anti-social hours and weekend working. Whilst money is not the primary motivator for this age group, there is a belief they can earn a similar wage doing easier work. Lack of access to work was also a major contributing factor, i.e. obstacles to newly passed drivers finding a job due to issues including but not restricted to lack of insurance cover. And the fact that many operators are unwilling to invest in training, coaching, and development of those newly passed.

Tackling one of the barriers to becoming an HGV driver is Goldstar Transport’s Driver Training Academy. It is an accessible conduit for those keen to pass their test and then walk straight into a job. The Woolpit-based designated test centre undertakes all its training in-house with the expertise of its two in-house delegated examiners.

Since the lifting of Covid restrictions last November, Goldstar is delighted to confirm that over 25 students have become qualified drivers. All are now on the road, and the Goldstar payroll.

Steve Jones, general manager at Goldstar Transport, says: “The driving academy is one of our most significant achievements. With a first-time pass rate of over 85%, our youngest student to pass is just eighteen. The academy team works hard to get their students through the test and, most importantly, offers ongoing mentoring once they’re on the road until they feel 100% confident.

“And with a loan scheme to help finance the training, our academy appeals to the long-term unemployed and young and/or female applicants that may have been deterred by the training costs or the work-life balance.”

Taking a longer-term perspective, VKVP Haulage is planning its first truck visit to a local school, Langer Primary, in Felixstowe in early April. With the school sited just outside the Port of Felixstowe, logistics is in its DNA, and the visit aims to introduce HGV driving as a career choice. Whilst many of their parents may work in the logistics sector; the visit gives the youngsters a chance to get up close and personal with an HGV and learn all about its size, capabilities, blind spots, stopping distances and more.

VKVP’s Mark Bennett says: “The children will, of course, see all the HGVs coming in and out of town, but here’s a chance to really understand more about the industry, and one which their family might already work in. While we’ll be taking one of our trucks to school, the visit also explains the breadth of opportunities the sector presents. Some students might fancy a life behind the wheel, but other roles such as planners, IT specialists, compliance specialists, warehouse staff, administrators, accountants, or technicians might be more appealing.

“We hope our visit will help them be more aware of the diversity of roles within the industry and that they’re all available to access locally.”

*research conducted by Driver Require