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Merry Logist-mas!

As is oft noted, the logistics industry is integral to British economy. Of course, the professional drivers of the country work tirelessly all year round to meet the targets that the economy requires to continue functioning, however, when it comes to the festive season, there are even greater expectations to go that extra mile. Drivers commit more hours and miles to ensure that Christmas will be a success, so as a light-hearted post towards the end of the year, we thought we’d look into the logistics of Christmas.

  • In 2015, UK couriers delivered 11.01 billion orders from UK retailers.

 

  • Each person travels on average of 92 miles to deliver their gifts to loved ones.

 

 

  • 130 million cards and presents were delivered in the run up to Christmas in 2016

 

 

  • …In October this year, internet sales made up 18% of all UK commerce – that’s more deliveries for professional drivers!

 

 

 

 

As we all relax and enjoy festivities, we hope you’ll join us in taking a moment to remember the hard-working logistics professionals who make it all possible – Merry Christmas from all at Barnes!

The Year Ahead – What Can We Expect?

2018 is drawing to a close, and the year ahead is set to be an historic one for Britain as the country faces one of the biggest political shifts in decades. But what can the logistics and warehousing industry expect in the next year?

 

Whilst we, of course, cannot say for sure what will happen in the near future; there are certain events which we can predict will affect our industry significantly.

 

Of course, the main political event will come in March as we officially leave the European Union. The issue of the Irish border is one which is still not settled – so let us imagine both scenarios. The Irish backstop plan which, at this moment in time, seems the most likely, will see a ‘soft’ Brexit, but if an agreement cannot be reached we may head towards a hard Brexit which means that any trade with Europe will involve longer delivery times as drivers’ goods are stopped and checked at customs.

 

As we will not be bound by the same standards agreements, goods must be checked on borders to ensure that they are up to EU standards. Some have voiced concerns that the increased stop time as lorries wait to have their goods inspected will lead to an increase in illegal migrants boarding HGVs to enter the UK illegally, particularly as immigration laws will change as EU members will no longer be allowed to move freely to Britain as they once could.

 

Our final Brexit prediction is that of uncertainty. Such a huge political shift will lead to economic changes – and whilst few can say whether this will be for better or worse in both the short and long term, the value of the pound will be unpredictable. This means businesses will need to have invested in surplus stock before March – a subject we have spoken about previously with our safe and secure warehousing space available to store these excess goods as businesses ride out the turbulent times ahead.

 

The drivers’ shortage, a European-wide issue, may well be exacerbated in 2019. Workers may feel less inclined to move to the UK and fill vital positions; so, we can predict an industry-wide awareness and recruitment campaigns. Hopefully this will be backed and supported by the Government, with funding for training, education and apprenticeships.

 

Of course, it’s not all negativity in the future. Despite the changes that we’re going to face in 2019, the logistics and warehousing industry will remain a vital cog to UK industry and economics. Businesses must still trade, and we will be there to support them with first class Just In Time logistics services and secure storage – see you in 2019!

STAYING SAFE AT CHRISTMAS

After the year that called for a lower alcohol limit, we are now heading into the party season and there has recently been a fresh call to reduce the drink driving limit as well as the new clamp down on using mobile devices whilst driving.

 

The move followed the release of new statistics that show that drink-driving figures have shown no improvement since 2010.  A 2015 Government study has found that the number of drivers who failed a breath test following a collision has risen for the first time in 10 years. The figure of 240 people killed in collisions where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit has remained unchanged since 2013.

 

The new campaign for a lower limit is being led by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) and supported by a number of stakeholders in the industry.  The current 80mg limit in England in Wales was set in 1965, but in 2014, Scotland lowered its drink-drive limit to 50mg/100ml – bringing it in line with the rest of Europe.  Malta, the only remaining country with a drink-drive limit the same as England and Wales, is also set to lower its limit to 50mg/100ml, leaving us behind.

 

According to the IAS, reducing the limit to 50mg/100ml would save at least 25 lives per year.

The Department for Transport statistics also show that drink driving costs Great Britain £800m each year, and a British Social Attitudes Survey shows 77 per cent of the public support a lower legal limit.

 

Due to car and technological advances, we have seen a continual improvement in road safety in every other area except in regards to drink driving.  Every year more than 3,000 people in the UK are killed or injured as a result of crashes on our roads relating to drink–driving and this number predictably spikes over the Christmas period.

 

Mobile devices also cause major road accidents, just glancing down for a second during your journey, means you are not looking at the road for 25 metres, and a lot can happen in that time.  Being caught on your mobile can mean six points on the license and a fine of up to £1,000.

 

So whilst we pick out our outfits for the office party season, forces across the country are braced for their traditionally hectic festive and New Year period, trying hard to raise awareness of the dangers on our roads in order to keep people safe as they travel around.

 

Even a very small amount of alcohol can affect driving performance with two drinks almost doubling the risk of a fatal accident.  In general, people are getting far better at staying away from the wheel after one too many during the night but too many are quick to jump back behind it after a sleep, unaware that they are still over the limit.   And be sure to stay off those mobiles, nothing is worth the risk.

 

So don’t take chances. Drive safe and stay safe this winter.

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HGV/LGV FOR WINTER

Winter can really take its toll on all vehicles, particularly HGV’s and LGV’s. We have compiled some hints and tips on how you can keep yourself and your vehicle in check during the colder months and unpredictable weather that is surely ahead of us.

One of the most important aspects of safety when driving in winter is to check the weather forecast regularly for the entire journey and ensure you are leaving enough time to cover any potential disruption to your journey.

While you’re at it you should also be checking your planned route regularly for traffic updates and information about any accidents that may have occurred due to adverse weather conditions or collisions.

Don’t try and get ahead of the Christmas rush by skipping on vital vehicle checks before you are due to begin your journey, it’s not worth it. Check you have all of the necessary equipment with you and thoroughly check your vehicle in advance. Ensure you’ve got appropriate clothing and blankets for extremely cold and dark conditions – your well-being is the main priority here. 

Now that you’re prepped for checking your vehicle no matter the weather, it’s important that you ensure all of your windows, lights, plates and reflective markings, steps and handrails are clear of ice, snow and dirt. You should already be checking your wipers, screen wash and de-misters as part of your everyday check (you’ll also want to avoid jumping down from your cab in wintery weather as there could be an icy trap waiting for you).

Checking the weight of your load is evenly distributed is crucial at this time of year because it can affect your vehicle’s handling. Also remember to adjust your driving after delivering as when your load gets lighter, you could get blown off course with a strong side wind. When your vehicle has a heavier load you have better traction on the road, but too much weight and it will affect your vehicle handling – it’s all about balance in trying weather conditions.

In the case of bad weather conditions, hopefully gritters will will have been out to improve the main A roads but drive with extra care and attention and remember that if your route requires you to take smaller, rural roads you will need to take extra caution as gritters can not always access these locations.

You may be driving one of the biggest vehicles on the road, with lots of sophisticated equipment, but that does not make you invincible – Don’t take risks with your cargo and especially not with your safety.

By sticking to this advice you should be fit to drive in wintery weather conditions as long as you always stay focused and act with extra caution. However, if you don’t feel comfortable driving in the weather conditions, or you feel your vehicle is not prepared for the conditions, find somewhere safe to stop and rest until the conditions improve.

KEEPING CHRISTMAS ON TRACK

With so many lorries and operator vehicles on UK roads, one wouldn’t think there was a shortage of drivers in the haulage industry, however, driver shortages have been well documented and as we head into the peak shopping time of the year, there are concerns that Christmas deliveries may be compromised.

The figures speak for themselves as this year alone, it is now expected that there will be a demand for approximately 45,000-60,000 professional drivers to supply goods across the country. Companies now need to ensure their logistic operators are prepared to have enough manpower to be able to deliver on their promises, particularly as customer expectations are rising and next day delivery being expected almost as standard.

So where did this shortage of drivers come from?

HGV drivers are now required to carry out a compulsory test which, upon successful completion, will award them with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). The new test takes 35 hours to complete and will cost the individual £500.

However, failure to complete the training will result in a £1000 penalty. It’s estimated that this alone has already motivated more than 20,000 drivers to quit or take early retirement. This figure has put pressure on the industry, as without enough HGV drivers, our retailers and other businesses could potentially have ‘empty shelves’ leaving customers short of vital supplies.

The issue looks set to get worse as recent research found the average age of a HGV driver is 53, much older than most industries. Only 2% of HGV drivers are under 25, while 13% are over 60 years old. The industry has asked for £150 million worth of training for thousands of drivers, urging the Government to act now before the shortage hits and affects the UK’s supply system.

As a compromise the Government has promised to review the speed at which driving and medical tests take place for HGV drivers and will consider how they can speed up this process to keep drivers on the road. Funding support for the training will also be looked into, however this is not guaranteed.

At Barnes Logistics we understand the difficulties the current employment market finds us in and for this reason we have recruited additional driving staff to help with the increased demands expected during the run up to Christmas.  HGV driving can be a rewarding and enjoyable career choice  with the right training and support.  The team at Barnes Logistics will be working flat out over the coming weeks and months to keep Christmas on track for all our customers.