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The Road Haulage Problem

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PDR
1390892.  Sat Sep 25, 2021 4:05 am Reply with quote

Like everyone else I have been somewhat perturbed by the supply problems we see in shops and petrol stations. I started wondering whether there was some set of structural problems which had come to a head to create a perfect storm, so I did some digging around and I came across this piece which (while containing some whining) identifies some serious points, especially in respect to providing facilities for trucks to stop overnight:

So, you are running out of food on the shelves, fuel in the garages, you canít buy things you need, because the shops canít get their supplies.
Why is that?
A shortage of goods? No
A shortage of money? No
A shortage of drivers to deliver the goods? Well, sort of.
There isnít actually a shortage of drivers, what we have, is a shortage of people who can drive, that are willing to drive any more. You might wonder why that is. I canít answer for all drivers, but I can give you the reason I no longer drive. Driving was something I always yearned to do as a young boy, and as soon as I could, I managed to get my driving licence, I even joined the army to get my HGV licence faster, I held my licence at the age of 17. It was all I ever wanted to do, drive trucks, I had that vision of being a knight of the roads, bringing the goods to everyone, providing a service everyone needed. What I didnít take into account was the absolute abuse my profession would get over the years.
I have seen a massive decline in the respect this trade has, first, it was the erosion of truck parking and transport cafťís, then it was the massive increase in restricting where I could stop, timed weight limits in just about every city and town, but not all the time, you can get there to do your delivery, but you canít stay there, nobody wants an empty truck, nobody wants you there once they have what they did want.
Compare France to the UK. I can park in nearly every town or village, they have marked truck parking bays, and somewhere nearby, will be a small routier, where I can get a meal and a shower, the locals respect me, and have no problems with me or my truck being there for the night.
Go out onto the motorway services, and I can park for no cost, go into the service area, and get a shower for a minimal cost, and have freshly cooked food, I even get to jump the queues, because others know that my time is limited, and respect I am there because it is my job. Add to that, I even get a 20% discount of all I purchase. Compare that to the UK £25-£40 just to park overnight, dirty showers, and expensive, dried (under heat lamps) food that is overpriced, and I have no choice but to park there, because you donít want me in your towns and cities.
Ask yourself how you would feel, if doing your job actually cost you money at the end of the day, just so you could rest.
But that isnít the half of it. Not only have we been rejected from our towns and cities, but we have also suffered massive pay cuts, because of the influx of foreign drivers willing to work for a wage that is high where they come from, companies eagerly recruited from the eastern bloc, who can blame them, why pay good money when you can get cheap labour, and a never ending supply of it as well. Never mind that their own countries would suffer from a shortage themselves, that was never our problem, they could always get people from further afield if they needed drivers.
We were once seen as knights of the road, now we are seen as the lepers of society. Why would anyone want to go back to that?
If you are worried about not getting supplies on your supermarket shelves, ask your local council just how well they cater for trucks in your district.
I know Canterbury has the grand total of zero truck parking facilities, but does have a lot of restrictions, making it difficult for trucks to stop anywhere.
Do you want me to go back to driving trucks? Give me a good reason to do so. Give anyone a good reason to take it up as a profession.
Perhaps once you work out why you canít, you will understand why your shelves are not as full as they could be.
I tried it for over 30 years, but will never go back, you just couldn't pay me enough.

Thank you to all those people who have shared this post. I never expected such a massive response, but am glad that this message is getting out there. I really hope that some people who are in a position to change just how bad it is for some drivers, can influence the powers that be to make changes for the better. Perhaps some city and town councillors have seen this, and are willing to bring up these issues at their council meetings. It surely cannot be too much to ask of a town/city to provide facilities for those who are doing so much to make sure their economies run and their shops and businesses are stocked with supplies. I never wanted any luxuries, just somewhere safe to park, and some basic ablutions that are maintained to a reasonable standard. I spent my nights away from my home and family for you, how much is it to ask that you at least give me access to some basic services.
There are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of licence holders just like me, who will no longer tolerate the conditions. So the ball is firmly in the court of the councils to solve this problem.

WOW. 100,000 shares in a week.
I have been humbled by the number of people who have never been involved in transport expressing concern about just how badly truck drivers are treated. I don't think the general public have really ever given it a thought, but I have been pleased to see so many express their displeasure about how we have to live while just providing a service for all of them.
I have heard from a number of news outlets since posting this, but not a single councillor or politician has contacted me.
Not that I think anything will change. Trucks always have been an inconvenience for local governments, and the cost of catering for them is left to someone else, anyone else, yet there is no someone else out there.

I avoided another aspect of the job, that makes it bad even for those who try to get home every night.
We have many transport hubs where goods are collected and then distributed onwards to supermarkets and large retailers. Anyone who has delivered to any of these regional distribution centres will tell you the same story. You arrive there at a fixed time slot (don't be late or you will face serious delays), and you will be told where to park and then where to take your paper work, after that, you will be instructed to back onto a bay at some point, to be unloaded. it might take just 20 minutes to unload a truck, but you can bet that the time spent in this RDC will be much longer, waiting for a bay to tip, waiting for them to actually unload you, and then what is usually the longest wait. Waiting for your paper work, so you can carry on to the next job. It is no wonder there is a shortage of trucks on the roads, 1/2 of them are stuck inside these soulless places waiting for a piece of paper.!


PDR

 
Alexander Howard
1390904.  Sat Sep 25, 2021 7:25 am Reply with quote

Yup, that's pretty damning. It's a challenge for employers and regulators, and it will be ongoing - it's not just this week's scandal..

 
PDR
1390927.  Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:57 am Reply with quote

I learned today that the problem is being compounded by a backlog of more than 250,000 license applications at the DVA because the Government has made a complete hash of overseeing the Agency. It seems that the Boris Mendocracy can't even run the basic organs of the state.

So if there's no food in your shops or fuel in your petrol stations you only have to find the nearest person who voted Tory and take the food from their table. Their children can starve - it's all about taking personal responsibility you know.

PDR

 
tetsabb
1390928.  Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:20 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:

So if there's no food in your shops or fuel in your petrol stations you only have to find the nearest person who voted Tory and take the food from their table. Their children can starve - it's all about taking personal responsibility you know.

PDR


Wishy-washy, woke libtard!!!

 
PDR
1390932.  Sat Sep 25, 2021 12:30 pm Reply with quote

I know, but it's just the way I am...

:0)

PDR

 
suze
1390943.  Sat Sep 25, 2021 3:40 pm Reply with quote

The government will announce tomorrow that it is to perform a complete U turn, and allow lorry drivers from the funny foreign EU to come and work in Britain.

Until today, its position was that it would absolutely categorically not do that under any circumstances, and that if any company found itself without enough drivers that was its own fault and it should hire British people to do the job.

I have a party needs organising in a brewery. I think I'd better get someone other than the government to do it. Or will barbados come along in a moment and tell me that I'm just a whinging Remoaner and the government is right on top of the situation?

 
PDR
1390948.  Sat Sep 25, 2021 6:52 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Or will barbados come along in a moment and tell me that I'm just a whinging Remoaner and the government is right on top of the situation?


Based on recent performance he'll probably claim that it was only remainers who wanted to stop EU truck drivers coming over here anyway, so it scores as a brexiteer win. Four legs good, two legs BETTER!!

PDR

 
Alexander Howard
1390952.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 2:29 am Reply with quote

I will step in and say that truckers have been punished mightily over many years by EU Regulations, so that they are under constant threat of prosecution for petty things, with a consequent suspension of their licence, which means unemployment, which makes it a very unattractive job. Mix that with our home-grown civil service's habit of gold-plating everything that Brussels produced and our regulators' excess of zeal compared with those in France, and you wonder why there are any lorry drivers at all.

Brexit is an opportunity to dump the worst of those regulations and take a more sensible approach to enforcement of what we keep.

International truckers are still freely passing back and forth across the Channel, and if you head out on the highway you will not see a drop in Polish and Lithuanian plated lorries out there, but in Europe too they are desperately short of drivers.

The demographic crisis in drivers has been looming for many years, irrespective of Brexit or COVID - COVID was the last straw for many, hence the apparent suddenness of what had to come anyway. Brexit is part of a solution.

 
PDR
1390958.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 5:04 am Reply with quote

The only problem with that post is that it's completely untrue in almost every respect, and it cynically misrepresents the situation (in respect to european drivers) to promote the usual vile agenda. Newspeak is alive and well.

FWIW - it's nothing to do with "international truckers still freely passing back and forth across the Channel". Long-haul freight isn't a problem. The problem (as I am sure you are well aware, but are deliberately misrepresenting) is with short-haul truck drivers - people who drive trucks from depots to shops & supermarkets and tankers to fuel stations. These people live and work inside the UK, so (ever since the brexiteer fuckwits like you and barby broke the whole basis of trade without having a replacement) they need visas to do so if we are looking to them to continue supplementing our national shortfall in HGV drivers. This has been obvious for some months.

But despite this the Government has done nothing other than occasionally look up from reading their copy of Mendacious Racist Despot Monthly* to state that they will NEVER grant extra visas to any of those nasty smelly European drivers.

Then someone points out that if they don't do something pronto they will be the party responsible for a Christmas that could make the winter of discontent look like a mild inconvenience, so in utter panic they do another U-turn.

But they can't even get that right. They are offering a 3-month visa to HGV drivers. Even assuming they can process any of these visas before the middle of the next ice age (which would be optimistic, given this government's general ineptitude in everything it touches) who is going to quit their job in europe where they are already offering better conditions and incomes to come over here (leaving wife, family and loved ones behind because they're not included in the visas) for a three month contract with no NHS access and no residence rights?

Time for the Brexiteer Fuckwits to take personal responsibility for their actions. Their homes, possessions and bank accounts should be immediately sequestered to pay for the mess they made. That's only fair, surely?

PDR

* Even the august edition with the wipe-clean scratch & sniff pull-out Boris in a mankini centrefold )

 
Brock
1390970.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 7:47 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
I learned today that the problem is being compounded by a backlog of more than 250,000 license applications at the DVA because the Government has made a complete hash of overseeing the Agency. It seems that the Boris Mendocracy can't even run the basic organs of the state.


Where does that figure of 250,000 come from?

According to a report in yesterday's "i", based on figures from the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency), there were 70,288 tests carried out from April 2019 to March 2020. That figure fell to 27,630 in the financial year 2020-21, not because of Government incompetence, but because test centres were closed for several months owing to the Covid pandemic.

According to this article, the backlog as of May this year was 28,000 - nothing like what you're claiming. I don't deny that there's a serious problem, but please don't exaggerate it.

 
Brock
1390971.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:02 am Reply with quote

And from another article in the same paper: "Around 14,000 EU HGV drivers left employment in the UK in the 12 months to June 2020, and only 600 have returned in the past year [ONS figures]. The Road Haulage Association estimates that up to 20,000 HGV drivers from the EU left during the Brexit process".

So it seems to me that Covid and Brexit have both made substantial contributions to the shortage. Of course, when the Covid pandemic struck, the Government had the option of extending the Brexit transition period for a year or even two years, and chose not to take it (a point that I haven't seen made anywhere else).

 
barbados
1390972.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:04 am Reply with quote

They are also only 3 weeks behind for new issue provisional vocational licenses, whcih considering the Civil Service (the ones who the DVLA work for) are still not fully returned to full office working, which again would suggest that the problem is not one that is of the governmentís making.

 
Brock
1390973.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:17 am Reply with quote

Well, it is and it isn't. They couldn't have seen Covid coming; but, as I said above, they could have extended the Brexit transition period so that the inevitable consequences of the two wouldn't suddenly arrive at the same time. (It would have broken a manifesto pledge, but as we've seen more recently, they clearly couldn't give a toss about that.)

 
barbados
1390974.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:27 am Reply with quote

How much actually os down to Brexit?
We didnít leave a month ago, or two months. There are much bigger issues at play here.

 
PDR
1390975.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:58 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:

Where does that figure of 250,000 come from?


Yesterday's Any Answers and the RHA

Quote:

According to a report in yesterday's "i", based on figures from the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency), there were 70,288 tests carried out from April 2019 to March 2020. That figure fell to 27,630 in the financial year 2020-21, not because of Government incompetence, but because test centres were closed for several months owing to the Covid pandemic.


You're talking about driving tests - the backlog is in the renewal/revalidation of the CPC and medical every 5 years. These are currently taking months, and drivers cannot drive HGVs while waiting for the renewal.

PDR

 

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