19.7.2022 | Haulage

Keep Britain Moving by Protecting our Drivers

“The industry has had enough of our employees being targeted by thieves, attacked and treated as second-class citizens,” says Adam Searle, managing director of CP Transport.

Nobody should expect that being beaten up or robbed (for their cargo or fuel due to spiralling diesel costs) forms part of their job description. But that’s what’s happening in the UK logistics sector, and the government is standing by and doing nothing about the situation.

“This is a scenario that our drivers face daily, due to too many overnight parking facilities having poor security or as a result of having to park in laybys up and down the country. Good facilities are full, and there is no way of knowing that until the driver arrives, making planning a journey impossible, ” says the managing director of Ipswich-based CP Transport, Adam Searle.

Calling upon fellow members within the logistics sector to come together to demand the government wakes up to the situation and provides better support to its national HGV driver workforce. Searle continues: “Now more than ever, the UK economy relies on the logistics sector to keep Britain moving.

“Our industry desperately needs to attract new recruits. How can we persuade the younger generation, females and those considering returning to a driving career of the benefits? When drivers potentially face physical attack or the possibility of breaking the law by having to drive longer than their mandated hours simply because ‘there’s no room at the inn’ for late lorry park arrivals?

“Driving over their hours (recorded/noted on the tachograph) may result in a later start the following morning, jeopardising the next day’s delivery time and affecting customer service.

“Companies are paying thousands of pounds annually for ‘safe’ parking at motorway parking, only for drivers to arrive on-site to find they’re being charged £30-40 to park in the corner backing onto open fields, with no barriers, staff security or working CCTV. Making them easy targets for thieves.”

One of CP Transport’s drivers was recently unable to find an overnight space at a service station. He parked in a layby near Peterborough. Adam Searle resumes: “That night, he was beaten up and held hostage as the entire contents of his 40ft container was stolen. Nobody should be at such risk for simply doing their job.”

With several transportation companies avoiding certain service stations due to their woefully inadequate services, Adam Searle is joining the industry initiative Better Breaks, Safer Stops, to address this issue. Still, he is far from a lone voice on the matter.

Steve Jones, general manager at Goldstar Transport, adds:

“In 2021, we experienced 79 attempted break-ins of our trucks at night as our drivers are parked up and already this year, we’re at 38. These figures confirm this is a real issue affecting the whole sector. Despite the government in disarray, we need to sit down with them and develop a plan to improve standards for existing HGV parking and rest facilities, as well as obtain a commitment for new secure driver dedicated areas.”

Stuart Sowerby, head of security, Yusen Logistics UK, concludes: “We are acutely aware of the perils of un-secure and on-street parking and the shortage of truly safe, secure parking facilities for commercial vehicles. Yusen Logistics UK does not accept this level of risk exposure. Our standard operating model is to use Yusen Logistics and partner sites only, across the UK or recognised and audited secure private locations. We have also implemented a range of security measures to support our drivers, including driver security awareness training, regular security bulletins identifying known cargo crime trends & incident hot spots. In respect of our fleet, we have locking systems and asset trackers to keep the team safe and freight secure and work with our subcontractors to remove any reliance upon offsite parking.

“Until secure offsite parking is guaranteed – it simply isn’t a viable option for Yusen Logistics UK.”

If you’re interested in registering your support for the Better Breaks, Safer Stops initiative, contact Steve Jones at Goldstar Transport on 01394 600523 ex 2030 s.jones@goldstartransport.co.uk

CP Transport