In the news – what is new for hauliers
From online shopping trends, export opportunities and successes in industry representatives’ lobbying of government, there are some interesting titbits of news for anyone in the haulage industry.
Online cross-border shopping
UK Haulier recently reported the results of market research showing that the UK is the third biggest exporter of online purchases – coming in third place after only the USA and China.
The survey suggests that for more than a third of UK shoppers, online purchases account for at least 25% of their monthly spending, with the most popular purchases being clothing and apparel, footwear, music and books. Perhaps more to the point, however, was the revelation that a significant proportion of online shopping involved cross-border shipments exported from the UK.
The research helps to point up the current opportunities that seem to exist for UK hauliers interested in delivering consignments of goods purchased online either within the UK or to customers overseas. If this includes you, it might be worth ensuring that your haulage insurance you arrange each year also incorporates cover for goods in transit.
Driving licence counterparts
For some time now, the government has been looking to abolish the need for paper counterparts to driving licences.
The website LGV Drivers reports that, thanks to lobbying by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) ,abolition of the need for paper counterparts for HGV licences has been delayed until the 8th of June 2015.
Postponement of government plans has been important since it gives hauliers a much-needed breathing space to implement and test the proposed online alternative to paper counterparts.
The original proposals depended on drivers having to logon to the “View Driver Record” database in order to print off a copy of the details on their counterpart and hand the printout to their employer. The employer would then have 48 hours in order to check those details by also going online to verify them.
Clearly, any haulage operation employing more than just one or two drivers would have had a considerable extra administrative burden.
The UK has a chronic shortage of professional HGV drivers.
The shortage has so exercised the industry that the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is organising a Driver Crisis Summit. Although the one-day summit is not scheduled to take place until the 12th of March 2015, the RTA reported on the 12th of February that it has already been so heavily subscribed that a waiting list has been started for those wishing to attend.
The summit has a very wide ranging agenda and list of subjects for consideration, including:
- the size of the driver crisis;
- government views on the profession of HGV driving;
- obstacles to putting drivers on the road;
- retaining drivers who have already chosen the profession;
- making the driving profession more attractive to newcomers;
- what needs to be done; and
- broadening the appeal of the profession.
The conference is free to attend and the list of participating speakers – from government, to haulage operators and HR personnel – suggests how seriously the industry is taking the current shortage of qualified drivers.