Posted on: March 6, 2014
Vans drove a 17.5% increase in commercial vehicle registrations in February, according to new figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders today, although truck numbers are still down as predicted.
Light commercial vehicle numbers soared by 28.2% ahead of the new number plate in March, with 11,731 units. Year-to-date the increase is pegged at 18.5% and 29,853 units, 4,655 more than over the same period in 2013.
Vans between 2.0 and 2.5t recorded the biggest rise in registrations and were up 111.1% in February at 2,664, and 40.4% year-to-date at 5,122. Registrations of vans between 2.5 and 3.5t also increased by 23.8% in February and 25.8% year-to-date at 16,729 units so far in 2014.
“Growing van registrations supported the February vehicle market as middle and heavy-weight vans enjoyed healthy rises, reflecting improving economic activity,” said Mike Hawes SMMT Chief Executive.
“Registrations of trucks over six tones continued to decline as the market adjusts to new Euro-6 legislation. We anticipate this rebalancing act to be a factor for some months yet, while van volumes should remain on an upward trend.”
After the rush to register Euro-5 trucks before the end of the 2013, the markets for heavy rigids and artics were down, although the rate of decline slowed from January’s 37% to 22.4% in February.
So far this year there have been 2,338 registrations of rigids over 3.5t, down from 3,251 over the same period in 2013, while artics numbers fell from 1,818 to 1,068.
Rolling year figures show the extent of the impact Euro-6 legislation has had, as Euro-5 numbers bring the rolling year numbers for heavy rigids up by 17.6% and artics by 30.4%.
Posted on: March 5, 2014
Transport engineering and the automotive component supply chain have the benefit of new funding and support for growth.
Funding worth £45.5 million for UK suppliers has been secured through the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative thanks to a bid from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
By securing £13.3 from government, the bid leverages a further £32.2 million of industry contribution.
The money will help to drive a four-year programme of research and development, skills training and investment amongst 38 suppliers, creating nearly 1,000 jobs and safeguarding a further 1,600.
SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said, “The UK has a thriving UK automotive industry but we must continue to grow and develop our supply base.
“This SMMT-driven programme will allow the supply chain to increase skills, R&D capability and manufacturing facilities, and will make UK-based companies more successful in competing for both local and overseas businesses.”
Industry stakeholders have also joined forces to provide small and medium-sized businesses in the supply chain and transport engineering sector with more support.
The Enscite organisation is a collaboration between Derby City Council, the University of Derby, Aston University and Cranfield University and aims to give SMEs help in improving their performance and maximising business opportunities.
Enscite Managing Director Colin McKinnon said, “Enscite’s main aim is to help manufacturing businesses to grow and thrive. It offers a range of support services to SMEs, including access to a £1 million Technology Fund to help firms invest in new cutting edge equipment.”
Posted on: March 5, 2014
A new survey has ranked congestion on UK road as the sixth worst amongst 13 European countries while traffic in London has increased the most sharply.
The Traffic Scorecard Report from traffic information provided INRIX shows drivers spend 30 hours stuck in traffic each year in the UK on average.
This is up one hour on the 2012 study and is worse than Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Portugal. Belgium records the most hours wasted in traffic each year at 58 hours and is followed by Luxembourg, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
While Belgium is also home to the most congested city, with drivers in Brussels getting stuck for an average of 83 hours a year, London posts the biggest increase of nine hours to come a close second with 82 hours worth of jams.
The study also identified the 10 worst areas for congestion in the UK as well as the worst roads in and out of London. Click on the images below to see the roads to avoid.
Posted on: March 6, 2014
Whether you want to dunk a digestive in your tea or a 65,000 tonne warship into the sea, you will have needed vans and trucks to help the biscuit and the boat on their journey to their final destinations.
Transport News Brief takes a look at some of the numbers that showcase what makes the UK logistics industry truly world-class.
When a champagne bottle smashes against the hull of what will be Britain’s biggest-ever aircraft carrier at Rosyth dockyard in Scotland on 4 July, one wonders how many of the onlookers will spare a thought for the contribution the UK’s logistics industry is making to the 65,000-tonne leviathan. And the arrival of the bubbly on the end of the rope.
To be named HMS Queen Elizabeth the most complex warship ever to be constructed in the UK has already sustained over 7,000 jobs at more than 100 companies across Britain, but their activities would have been impossible without logistical support.
At the heart of that support is supply chain specialist Wincanton, which has been instrumental in the delivery of over 12.5 million items required by the carrier.
The complex inventory ranges from a single washer to a 120-tonne £13 million gas turbine assembly, the biggest of its type in the world. Wincanton has used its expertise to cut the anticipated transport spend by 60%, while its IT platform has ensured 99.7% stock accuracy. This level of accuracy is crucial as any item that is not available when it should be could result in a delay, impacting the cost of construction.
Wincanton’s activities are just one example of the breadth and depth of the UK logistics industry’s expertise and its importance to the country.
According to a report just published by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) – UK Freight Planning to 2035 – the industry is a central part of the economy.
“Estimates vary significantly, but depending on research definitions the sector employs 1.7m to 2.2m people across 63,000 to over 192,000 companies, which is up to 8% of the UK workforce,” it observes. “These companies have a collective turnover of £770bn and a gross value add of circa £55bn-£96bn. This equates to 11% and 26% of the total economy respectively.”
There is no doubt that it is an efficient industry and the CILT report cites surveys that show distribution costs of British businesses have fallen sharply since 2000, from around 12% of sales to just 6%.
“The UK is in the top 10% of countries for its freight and logistics capabilities and is widely recognised for its supply chain leadership through world-leading institutes such as the Cranfield Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics Management,” it states.
According to the most recent statistics published by the Department for Transport, commercial vehicles grossing at above 3.5 tonnes handled a massive 139 billion tonne-kilometres of goods in 2010, up from 125 billion the previous year (although still some way behind the 146 billion recorded in 2008 before the recession bit).
Rail handles around 20bn tonne-kilometres of cargo a year, so although its role is significant and growing, road transport still dominates.
All that road tonnage is shifted by a surprisingly small number of wagons. Britain’s logistics companies are adept at sweating their assets with 44-tonners regularly double- and sometimes triple-shifted. It is the reliability and durability of modern trucks that makes this possible.
Just under 560,000 HCVs are registered for use on UK roads according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) 2012 Motorparc data.
That compares with almost 600,000 HCVs that were on UK roads pre-recession, so each of the trucks is working harder, and more efficiently, than ever.
By contrast, SMMT figures show that the UK van parc has slowly risen to 3.63 million. It is an increase that undoubtedly reflects the steady rise in online shopping and the need for goods bought over the internet to be delivered to households – biscuits for cups of tea, for instance – with some parcel carriers reporting a 20% hike in volumes last Christmas. On 2 December 2013 Amazon UK was taking orders at a rate of 47 items a second totalling 4.1 million sales on that day alone.
“Everything from groceries to clothes, from sofas to mobile phones, whatever it is, the chances are that if it is has been ordered online then it has probably been delivered in a van,” says FTA Head of Vans, Mark Cartwright.
One major and perhaps less-remarked change to UK logistics over the past few years has been the inexorable rise of the pallet networks, however. A cost-effective way of shifting pallet-loads of goods, and one that has helped many of the medium-size hauliers that handle much of the traffic stay afloat during tough times, it is proving as popular on the other side of the Channel as it is in Britain.
Pall-Ex alone saw volumes increase 22% across its European network in 2013. “There is confidence in the pallet network model that stretches from our members through to their customers and we firmly believe that this will facilitate even further growth in 2014,” says Managing Director, Adrian Russell.
The Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive of Pall-Ex is of course no-nonsense Dragon’s Den star Hilary Devey.
Acutely aware of their impact on the environment, and aided by truck manufacturers responding to ever-tougher legislation, logistics companies have worked hard to reduce their environmental impact.
Besides carrying more goods in fewer vehicles, particulate emissions have fallen by almost 100% over the past 20 years, while CO2 emissions have remained stable despite a 20% increase in cargo volumes.
Both third-party logistics and major own-account fleets are determined to clean up their acts even further. Arla Foods for example plans to ensure that 20% of its truck fleet is capable of running on Bio-LNG, a mixture of 75% liquefied natural gas and 25% liquefied biomethane; a change that should help cut the CO2 output of its distribution operation by 25% by 2020.
Working tirelessly to improve efficiency and bring down cost, the logistics sector underpins the UK economy, whether you’re talking shipbuilding or biscuit baking.
Posted on: March 6, 2014
News from TruckPol: After two years out in the wilderness, TruckPol is set to re-open its doors after securing sponsorship and support from the National Business Crime Solution (NBCS).
The joint police and haulage industry partnership dedicated to fighting freight crime, originally closed down in March 2012 due to a withdrawal of Home Office funding, and the NBCS will launch a freight and logistics crime desk which will be tasked to working with local constabularies to help UK businesses tackle freight and logistics crime and identify key hot spots and criminal trends through centralised and collective data sharing.
Catherine Bowen, Policy & Stakeholder Director at the National Business Crime Solution, said, “We are delighted to be re-launching TruckPol. However, the success of TruckPol is dependent on having a regular and consistent flow of crime data from both the police and industry. That’s why we have today contacted each Chief Constable announcing the re-launch of TruckPol and requesting their support through the regular supply of freight crime data.”
Sue Fish, Deputy Chief Constable for Nottinghamshire Police and National Policing Lead for Business Crime Reduction said, “We speak of collaboration not isolation. The National Business Crime Solution re-launch of TruckPol is welcomed as it adds the vehicle crime dimension that we need to provide the whole intelligence picture necessary to address business crime.
“The fact that the business community are willing to support the re-introduction of TruckPol financially with a clear desire that it is run by the NBCS is testament to the developing momentum that the public private intelligence partnership is having on addressing business crime in all its forms.”
The NBCS is underpinned by a live information and intelligence-sharing platform, which is used by a number of UK retailers and businesses for crime data sharing. Registered users can submit their business crime data into the system and this information is then collated, analysed and disseminated to other participating business members locally, regionally, nationally or by sector.
There have already been many instances where the NBCS has helped identify and prosecute prolific cross-border offenders. In one recent case led to several arrests of cross border criminals plus property worth £200,000 being recovered.
The TruckPol partnership will enable the NBCS to provide analysis and research services specific to freight and logistics crime data and issue timely alerts, bulletins and reports highlighting ‘live time’ incidents, hotspots and crime trends, which alone costs the UK economy an estimated £1 billion annually.
Chrys Rampley, Road Haulage Association said: “The RHA has been a leading supporter of TruckPol since its inception and, as we stressed to the parliamentary transport committee in 2012, we believe it was an essential focal point and needed to be maintained for the collection and sharing of information on crime against the haulage industry and how it can be best combated. Since the closure of TruckPol in 2012, the industry has received little or no intelligence on freight and haulage crime trends or hotspots. We are excited to get TruckPol back up and running to strengthen the fight against freight and business crime.
“The RHA will be working alongside the NBCS and the police service. As part of that, we are launching our own online, easy-to-use reporting service for members. Information which will go directly to TruckPol and assist with the fighting of crime.”
Posted on: March 6, 2014
In an impressive demonstration of the focus placed on helping operators maintain ‘O’ licence compliance, the Volvo Trucks’ UK Dealer Network achieved a record 97.4% MOT first time pass rate in January 2014.
The record figure of 97.4% exceeds by 1.3% the previous highest monthly MOT first time pass rate of 96.1%, which was set in mid-2013.
The January 2014 figures also reveal that 43 of 71 (61%) of Volvo’s UK Dealerpoints achieved an MOT first time pass rate of 100% for the month.
Volvo’s MOT first time pass rate for 2013 full year was an industry-leading 94.9%. The Volvo Trucks’ UK Dealer Network carried out 17,975 MOT tests during 2013. A total of 1,554 tests were undertaken during January 2014.
Commenting on the impressive MOT first time pass rate achieved by the Volvo Trucks’ UK Dealer Network, Volvo Trucks’ Aftersales Director Tony Davis said that, “Together with our Dealers, we are focusing very hard on being our customer’s number one business partner. Compliance is a major issue in the transport industry and Volvo has solutions in place, like the 21 ATFs based at our Dealerpoints, to add value to our offer for our customers.”
Posted on: March 6, 2014
News from the Freight Transport Association: The Freight Transport Association has backed the call by Newport East MP Jessica Morden for ‘openness’ from the Treasury about what it intends to do with the Severn tolls when the bridges revert to public ownership in 2018.
Leading the debate in House of Commons today, the Labour MP called for ministers to say whether or not they will reduce the tolls or keep them in place.
Ian Gallagher, FTA’s Head of Policy – Wales & South West said, “This type of debate, which was secured by Jessica Morden, ensures that this important issue remains high up the political agenda. Unfortunately the outcome still leaves FTA members, who pay many thousands of pounds to cross the bridges, uncertain about the future with many questions still unanswered.”
On behalf of its members, who pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in tolls at the Severn Crossing, FTA has long campaigned on the issue which was duly recognised during the Commons debate by the Minister today.
Mr Gallagher added, “FTA’s view is that tolls should be reduced post concessionaire to cover maintenance only. To ask users to continue to pay for infrastructure which has been paid for many times over is fundamentally wrong.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill recently appeared before the Transport Select Committee and said the DfT had no secret agenda to introduce road tolls following the decision to scrap such proposals for the A14.
The commitment does not cover existing tolls such as those at the Severn and Dartford, or new projects such as the new Lower Thames Crossing project which will be announced later this year.
The DfT is also consulting on proposals to give local authorities the power to increase tolls below the rate of inflation at 12 council-run crossing points in the UK.
Posted on: March 5, 2014
News from Mercedes-Benz: A triumphant mpg performance from an Actros demonstration unit was instrumental in helping Belfast Dealer Mercedes-Benz Truck & Van to land a prestigious order from Armagh-based Carna Transport.
The high-profile operator, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in business last year, sent the truck with the three-pointed star into a head-to-head fuel efficiency shootout against a similarly-specified vehicle from another manufacturer.
Both were put to work on long-distance Continental haulage runs at up to 40 tonnes over several weeks, the Actros coming out on top by a clear margin with an average return of 11.4 mpg. Now Carna Transport is looking forward to an equally impressive performance from the three New Actros 1845 tractors it has just put into service.
Powered by 449bhp straight-six engines, all have range-topping, flat-floored GigaSpace cabs and are equipped with Daimler FleetBoard telematics hardware as well as Mercedes-Benz Predictive Powertrain Control technology.
PPC is a clever cruise control that employs 3D GPS mapping to read three kilometres of topography ahead, then responds by controlling speed, braking and the transmission to maximise fuel efficiency. The easy-to-operate system is optional on all Actros models at a cost of £1,349 or, if specified as part of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services contract hire package, for just £2.50 a week – equivalent to the price of a cup of coffee.
PPC really comes into its own when the vehicle is travelling up or down hills. It makes maximum use of the truck’s standard-fit EcoRoll function on downhills, and applies carefully judged single or double downshifts of gear at an early stage. Mercedes-Benz says the “far-sighted” system reduces fuel use by approximately five per cent, although some operators are reporting even bigger savings.
General Manager Robert Heavin says, “Our decision to invest in these vehicles was very much influenced by the excellent fuel returns we achieved with the demonstrator – if we continue to hit figures like that we’ll be very happy.
“But that’s not all we looked at. Our trucks travel as far afield as Romania and Sicily, so we also place a high priority on effective back-up and comfortable, spacious cabs.
“Mercedes-Benz offers full 24-hour assistance across Europe, while the GigaSpace cabs are very well designed, with masses of storage space and a real quality feel. It’s no surprise that our drivers are delighted with their Actros.”
Posted on: March 5, 2014
News from Unipart Logistics: Unipart Logistics and RF Code have announced a strategic alliance to deliver the most advanced Active RFID-enabled solutions to the global supply chain marketplace.
Richard Hankinson, Automotive Director at Unipart Logistics, said, “We are delighted to form this strategic alliance with RF Code; it extends the capabilities of the Unipart Group, giving our clients and customers access to advanced asset tracking and management technology to provide real-time finger-tip control of complex supply chains”.
Global supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, none more so than in industrial engineering and automotive manufacturing sectors. Opportunities abound to gain competitive advantage, release cash, and deliver carbon reductions in environments which are rarely risk-free. Getting it right is an immense challenge, and now Unipart Logistics and RF Code have teamed up to provide a solution.
“This is another big step for RF Code within these sectors,” says Mitch Medford, CEO of RF Code. “We currently work with many large customers in oil and gas and logistics; this alliance increases our value proposition within the automotive markets where we have seen a rapid increase in demand for accurate asset tracking. We look forward to the success this strategic alliance will bring.”
Unipart applies this technology within its Supply Chain Management offer across its Industrial Engineering, Manufacturing and Automotive sectors. Initially deployed at Unipart’s Oxford headquarters, the combined solution enables accurate yet affordable, real-time wire-free tracking and management of in-bound parts and out-bound finished goods, including associated re-usable packaging and key individual components.
Posted on: March 4, 2014
News from Volkswagen: Volkswagen’s multi-award-winning Crafter panel van, chassis and double cab models are set to become among the cleanest and most refined vehicles in their classes with the introduction of Euro 6 engines. As a result, the new Crafter Euro 6 range meets the most exacting European exhaust standard for commercial vehicles.
The Crafter achieves the strict limits with the help of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) systems, as well as a built-in Diesel Particulate Filter which works to purify exhaust emissions and almost eradicate particulate matter.
Volkswagen’s Euro 6 range is offered on selected Crafter models with EU kerbweights between 2,355 kg and 2,815 kg in medium and long wheelbases. Available with Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre TDI engine with an output of either 160bhp or 112bhp, which is new to the Crafter range. Additionally, the 112bhp Euro 6 engine can be specified with Volkswagen’s BlueMotion Technology.