Drivers’ hours relaxation rules extended

Drivers’ hours relaxation rules extended

11.1.2022 | Haulage

Drivers' hours relaxation rules extended

DfT has announced that it will continue its relaxation of drivers’ hours rules until midnight on 10 February 2022.

If you used the previous relaxation, you must complete and submit the follow-up notification form by 16 January 2022, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

The DfT said the temporary relaxation of the rules reflects the urgent situation arising from the impacts of Covid-19, including the recent highly infectious Omicron variant. This is resulting in increased absence rates and outbreaks in specific workforces, including in respect of the carriage of goods by road and the supply chains of which they are a part, the government said.

Additionally, the DfT was keen to stress it was: “not related to the previous temporary relaxations that lapsed on 9 January 2022, which were put in place to address the cumulative impacts of Covid-19 coupled with an acute shortage of HGV drivers.”

VKVP Haulage stands out from the crowd

VKVP Haulage stands out from the crowd

1.12.2021 | Haulage

VKVP Haulage stands out from the crowd

Haulage specialist invests in people, vehicles and equipment. 

Over recent months it’s been all systems go at Felixstowe-based VKVP Haulage.

Offering a range of services, including nationwide container movements, shunting, transhipments, distribution, storage and customs clearance, the company set up just six and a half years ago by Vladislav Pantelej is going from strength to strength.

Vlad explains: “Whilst starting VKVP was nerve-wracking, I’m proud to say that our fleet has grown from just two vehicles to 85. We’ve also been busy making investment plans for 2022, and new vehicles and trailers will be joining the fleet throughout next year.”

Growing consistently year on year, VKVP’s expansion isn’t only vehicular. Vlad continues: “Over the last three months, our recruitment strategy has accelerated, we’ve appointed a new operations manager and traffic planner, and have a new office manager joining the team next week. We’re also busy expanding our customer services and fleet departments.”

Across the industry, VKVP Haulage is gaining a reputation for its commitment to staff wellbeing. Vlad explains: “From the outset, our philosophy has been if we look after our people, then they will do their best in return. It’s as simple as that, and part of looking after the team includes a 50% contribution to sports memberships, healthcare, and confidential counselling service for staff, should they need additional support.”

With the Christmas peak season looming, Vlad adds: “Regardless of the curve balls that have affected the industry over the last twenty months, there is always going to be a Christmas rush. We’re about getting the job done professionally and not looking at what could go wrong. Christmas for us is business as usual and doing our best for our customers.”

You can find out more about VKVP Haulage here.

Better Breaks, Safer Stops Campaign gains traction

Better Breaks, Safer Stops Campaign gains traction

17.11.2021 | Haulage

Better Breaks, Safer Stops campaign gains traction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#driversdeservebetter

Extension of road freight cabotage will put more pressure on lorry parking, says Logistics UK

Extension of road freight cabotage will put more pressure on lorry parking, says Logistics UK

2.11.2021 | Haulage

Extension of cabotage will put more pressure on lorry parking, says Logistics UK

1,400 spaces short will lead to more drivers being forced to sleep overnight on the sides of roads or in insecure locations.

Leading trade association has recognised the need for the recent announcement by government of a temporary, limited extension to road haulage cabotage – the system under which overseas hauliers can transport goods between two places in the UK after completing their initial journey. But as the organisation’s Head of Road Freight Regulation Policy, James Firth, explains, the extension will force more drivers to park overnight in lay-bys.

“Our members supported a temporary, limited extension to the system as this will mitigate some of the impacts caused by the current driver shortage for the supply chain,” he explains. The breathing space provided by the extension will enable British drivers to be recruited, trained and tested. Logistics UK’s priority is supply chain resilience, and that we keep Britain trading.

The length of time permitted for overseas drivers to work for hire or reward in the UK is an area of concern for Logistics UK, as Firth explains: “During the consultation on the new plans, Logistics UK asked that the period of cabotage be for seven, not 14, days. By allowing non-UK hauliers to work in the UK for 14 days, the drivers’ legally mandated weekly rest will need to be taken in the UK. This will increase pressure on the existing allocation of HGV parking spaces, which the government itself assesses as being at least 1,400 spaces short, and will lead to more drivers being forced to sleep overnight on the sides of roads or in insecure locations.”

“It is also vital that the temporary nature of this extension is adhered to, to ensure competition from non-UK businesses has a minimal impact on British haulage companies. We have received a commitment from government that the arrangements will be reviewed after three months and that there will be increased monitoring and enforcement.”

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses that are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people are directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group that represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.

Goldstar demands better facilities for HGV Drivers’ welfare

Goldstar demands better facilities for HGV Drivers’ welfare

5.10.2021 | Haulage

Goldstar demands better facilities for HGV Drivers’ welfare

Transport specialist calls for more safe, secure and suitable places for HGV Drivers to rest. 

Goldstar Transport is committed to improving the lot of HGV drivers across the country with the launch of its ‘Better Breaks, Safer Stops’ Campaign to improve the industry for HGV Drivers, on the back of the RHA’s 12-point Action Plan.

Explaining the company’s reason for taking action Steve Jones, Goldstar Transport general manager, says: “Brexit, IR35 and the Covid-19 pandemic are just the latest in several long-standing barriers to entry into the UK haulage industry. The current driver crisis proves that we need to encourage new and returning drivers. We believe that a critical part of this is ensuring improved minimum standards for all HGV parking facilities.

“Unfortunately, every driver has a story to tell about the poor quality, lack of security and insufficient facilities at rest stops. The recent closure of the Orwell Crossing here on the A14 further reiterates the extent of the problem. And, pulling out all the stops to get the country through the Covid pandemic has put incredible pressure on the industry and reinforced, once again, how HGV drivers are the backbone of our economy.”

With the Government acknowledging as far back as 2010 that there was a shortfall of secure, safe places for drivers to park, little has been done to rectify the situation, and no other industry is expected to ‘make do’ as our drivers are.”

As an industry with mandatory rules that prevent drivers from driving further to what might be considered a ‘safer stop’, Goldstar Transport is encouraging other industry members to join its ‘Better Breaks, Safer Stops’ campaign. Steve Jones continues: “We have to abide by the rules that govern our industry, but in return, a network of quality, secure rest stops across the UK should be made mandatory too.

“And, whilst recognising the high standards some HGV parking facilities provide and thank companies like Snap for making it easier for drivers to access facilities, we believe there needs to be more safe, secure and suitable places for HGV Drivers to rest. We shouldn’t have to advise our drivers of no-go locations.”

Fully supportive of the RHA’s 12-point plan presented to government, Steve Jones adds: “If we are to curb this crisis and ensure road haulage is an industry that people want to build a career in, we need to put pressure on the Government to ensure all designed HGV stops have adequate facilities for the number of HGV’s they can hold – including lighting, fencing, CCTV and appropriate security. If we are to continue to keep Britain moving, it’s time for the Government to deliver.”
Goldstar Transport would love to hear from anyone in the transport industry business keen to get involved in its ‘Better Breaks, Safer Stops’ initiative, as well as UK Rest Stop or motorway services interested in flying the flag for industry improvements.

To find out more or to become part of the campaign, email: steve.jones@goldstartransport.co.uk or call: 01394 600523 ext. 2030.

Ministers push for ‘greener’ extra-long lorries to be used across Britain from next year

Ministers push for ‘greener’ extra-long lorries to be used across Britain from next year

7.9.2021 | Haulage

Ministers push for 'greener' extra-long lorries to be used across Britain from next year

Mixed response as concerns raised over risk to vulnerable road users.

Extra-long lorries designed to cut road transport emissions by reducing the number of freight journeys required are set to be rolled out next year, the Government has announced this week as it attempts to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers in Britain.

A 15-year trial of longer-semi trailers – which are 2.05 metres (6.8 feet) longer than the existing limit of 13.6 metres (45 feet) – due to terminate in 2027 has been cut short by the Department for Transport after just nine years.

Ministers are now calling for them to be rolled out from 2022 amid claims they will remove up to one in eight HGV journeys.

That’s despite some opposition to their introduction, with concerns about the threat they potentially pose to vulnerable road users in urban environments, the impact on road conditions and disputes about whether they are greener or not.

Trials of LSTs, which are 15.65 metres (51.3 feet) in length, have taken place on Britain’s roads since 2012.

The longer units are capable of carrying up to 30 standard UK pallets, which is four more than conventional HGV trailers transport.

Some 2,600 LSTs have been on our roads over the last nine years, which are said to offer more efficiency and fewer lorry journeys for commodities limited by bulk as opposed to weight.

By requiring fewer haulage trips across the country, ministers have hoped they can contribute to reducing high levels of road traffic emissions produced by hulking, diesel-powered, HGVs.

In a statement, the DfT said fast-tracking their wider use would ‘support the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan by reducing mileage, congestion and carbon emissions’.

The trial has terminated after the Government consulted on ending the scheme having concluded that it had yielded enough data to support their wider use.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said yesterday: ‘This Government is committed to fighting climate change and decarbonising our transport network, and we are working at pace to achieve net-zero by 2050.

‘Today’s announcement is a vital step forwards as we work to introduce more environmentally-friendly freight to our roads and build back greener.’

The DfT said the use of LSTs between 2012 and 2019 made emissions savings of six per cent, cutting around 48,000 tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of the CO2 outputs produced by 6,000 UK households. Road miles driven also dropped on average by eight per cent.

The scheme also suggested they reduced the number of road traffic collisions, resulting from the fact that fewer journeys were made.

Some 57 per cent of those surveyed in the consultation felt LSTs should be in general circulation.

This week, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said it welcomed the move, which they said would go ‘some way to easing the crisis shortage of HGV drivers’, with Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic depleting driver numbers.

Retail bosses have warned the industry faces a shortfall of 90,000 lorry drivers as a perfect storm of Covid and Brexit strangles supply chains and threatens a shortage of popular gifts ahead of the Christmas rush as well as staple foods.

However, not everyone agreed with the wider rollout of longer lorries on British routes.

Some 43 per cent who responded to the Government’s consultation said LSTs should be removed from the roads entirely, notably for the safety risk posed to vulnerable road users, especially in urban areas.

The DfT’s records show that, up to the end of 2019, there had been 40 reported incidents with LSTs, three of which have involved either a cyclist or a pedestrian.

Two of the cases – both involving cyclists – resulted in one serious injury and one death, though were judged that the use of an LST was not the cause of the incident.

The third, which saw a pedestrian sustain a ‘slight’ injury in 2015, was caused when they were hit by the tail end of the trailer while the driver was making a turning manoeuvre in an urban location during an assessment.

The DfT confirmed further concerns have been raised over route selections based on the damage these longer – and heavier – goods vehicles could cause to road conditions and roadside furniture, which includes properties themselves if positioned precariously close to the roadside.

Chris Todd, the director of the campaign group Transport Action Network, referred to the trial of LSTs as ‘greenwashing in overdrive’.

He said: ‘We know from the nature of the extra swing on the vehicle and the bigger blind spot that it’s going to likely have a more chilling effect on people walking and cycling.’

With the trial ending prematurely, government officials will now push for the use of LSTs outside of trial conditions, with their rollout across the country ‘sometime in 2022’ with no restrictions on where the longer lorries could travel.

Image courtesy of Firmin Transport