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Roadway November 2012

On the first page of November’s ROADWAY operator profile (pages 46 – 49) our intrepid reporter, Bob Tuck, assures readers that the magazine isn’t getting on its soapbox about the green agenda.

Talking about one of the key drivers behind the success of a Bootle-based bulk tanker operator he says: “Terms like ‘reducing our carbon footprint’ have come more into vogue and, while initially they may have been mooted by the politically correct ‘global warming’ fraternity, the idea is something the logistics world should not only adopt, but also champion.

“This isn’t ROADWAY getting on its high horse but simply an echo of the beliefs of Steve Granite, MD of Merseyside-based Abbey Logistics Group.” Granite goes on say: “If you are more environmentally friendly, then you are more cost effective. Cut out waste and you cut down on cost.”

Very wise words I hope you will agree. I didn’t intend to make this edition of the magazine all about reducing: the amount of energy we consume; the amount of pollutants we produce and the number of empty miles we run. But as you read our reports about: The IAA Commercial Vehicle Show; the road test of Daf’s XF105 460 ATe 40 tonner; the Abbey Logistics Group profile; the Clayton/Don-Bur twin cargo semi-trailer and Michelin’s latest tyre offering, you should begin to realise that our industry has gone green.

If you missed that particular boat, I suggest you get paddling and catch it up quickly, because if you don’t you will not be able to compete in the brave new world of road transport and logistics. Thinking back to Bob Tuck’s thoughts about ROADWAY and soapboxes…he was wrong. We are on one.

But ‘Going Green’ isn’t just about climate change or stopping the Maldives from disappearing beneath the waves. These considerations are none the less important – I don’t want to loose my favourite holiday destination – but what ‘Green’ means to you is using fewer resources, working more efficiently and ultimately spending less to achieve more. And that equals remaining competitive, generating bigger profit margins, growth and securing your future. Things many hauliers have been struggling to do over recent years. Yes lobbying for a fairer deal from government also has its place, but the clever time and money is being invested in the new technologies, which can help hauliers and logistics companies – not just in the UK, but also across the globe – tackle the biggest challenge…spiralling fuel costs.

But as ever there is a spanner in our works. And it isn’t the obvious one. It is the UK’s Annual Investment Allowance, or AIA. Reduced from £100,000 to £25,000 in April, Jack Semple expertly points out (on pages 26 and 28) that small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in our sector have dramatically reduced the amounts of capital they are willing to invest in their companies. For example, rather than buying new ‘Green’ fuel-efficient trucks they are renting to cover shortfalls or to avoid replacing fleet. This in turn means fewer older trucks are being taken off the roads and the expected pull forward of Euro 5 truck orders prior to the Euro 6 implementation in December 2013 has not happened…yet. And unless SME hauliers can change their approach they could miss the boat while the rest of Europe grabs all the production slots.

The RHA is calling for the government to do something to stimulate the SME sector and help it invest in its future.

Returning to the theme of ‘Going Green’ it is in this area where the investments should be made. SMEs are the backbone of this industry and the economy. If they miss that boat we are all in trouble.

Peter Shakespeare
RHA Publications