Blog > January 2017

With over 20,000 calls a year to our Member Advice Centre, it is no wonder really that we get a huge variety of enquiries from our members. It is also one of the reasons why I love this job so much; there isn’t a day that goes by without a query from a member that reminds me of the huge diversity in our members’ operations.

On one such day recently, I took a call from a courier company who had tendered for a contract from the NHS.

One of the requirements that needed to be satisfied would be how this company could transport vials of blood that were contaminated with Ebola and a variety of infectious diseases.

Having spoken with my colleagues to ascertain the appropriate advice, we advised the member of the ADR requirements that had to be met; There are five transport categories, rated from zero to four. We commonly deal with categories one to three, however this particular hazardous material is classed as Transport Category zero, meaning there are a number of requirements the operator must meet in order to transport it. We provided the documents to assist the member, such as; the Management of Healthcare waste, the updated list of Pathogens, HSE Guide to management of dangerous pathogens, a Category A Pathogen Disposal Form, an example of a Road Transport Security Plan and a copy of the Category A Pathogen Waste procedures.

Although this may not be the most glamourous of examples of putting ADR requirements into practice, I was pleased to have given this member peace of mind and I could then go back to dealing with other calls on abnormal loads, getting a vehicle from London to Moscow and whether ping pong balls are dangerous!

FTA members wanting more information on this or any other transport query should call our Member Advice Centre.

For more information on how to join FTA membership take a look online or call us on 03717 11 22 22*
* Calls may be recorded for training purposes

Posted: 18/01/2017 13:50:30 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

As normal service resumes in to the new year, some employers may notice their drivers have received new electronic gadgets such as a mobile phones, satellite navigation devices and iPods as Christmas presents.

Now is a perfect time to remind drivers of the company policy for using such devices in a safe and legal manner and of the regulations and potential penalties for non-compliance. Areas of legislation to be aware of are as follows.

Mobile phones

It is an offence to use a mobile phone whilst driving. The Construction and Use Regulations 1986, Regulation 110(1) and (2) state:

1. No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a road if he is using –
a. A hand-held mobile telephone; or
b. A hand-held device of a kind specified in paragraph (4)
2. No person shall cause or permit any other person to drive a motor vehicle on a road while that person is using –
a. A hand-held mobile telephone; or
b. A hand-held device of a kind specified in paragraph (4)

The penalty for driving a vehicle whilst using a hand-held mobile phone or other hand-held communication device (other than a two-way radio) is a fine of £100 plus three penalty points on the driver's licence.

Most drivers are aware of this but drivers could also be prosecuted for failing to have proper control of the vehicle, or the more serious offence of dangerous driving and this could happen not only when the driver is holding a mobile phone but also when using a hands-free device

Satellite navigation devices

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) regulations 1986, section 104 (drivers control) states:
'no person shall drive or cause or permit any other person to drive, a motor vehicle on a road if he is in such a position that he cannot have proper control of the vehicle or have a full view of the road ahead’.

The Road Traffic Act 1988, section 41D states;
A person who contravenes or fails to comply with a construction and use requirement:

a. as to not driving a motor vehicle in a position which does not give proper control or a full view of the road and traffic ahead, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person in such a position, or

b. As to not driving or supervising the driving of a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone or other hand-held interactive communication device, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person using such a telephone or other device, is guilty of an offence.

Under the fixed penalty offences, a driver can be fined £60 plus three penalty points on their licence for a breach of a requirement to control the vehicle. If the driver holds a vocational entitlement on their licence, this could also lead to a driver conduct hearing before the Traffic Commissioner at which point the driver’s vocational entitlement could be suspended for a period of time.

It is imperative that drivers are aware of the consequences of not complying with the regulations surrounding the safe use of such devices whilst driving.

In-car/cab cameras

There has been a large increase in the number of in-car or in-cab cameras being used but again it is important to use these cameras both sensibly and legally as drivers could again find themselves subject to a financial penalty. For companies installing cameras in their vehicles, it is important to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. This does not mean companies cannot install the cameras but they must use and process the data in a correct manner as specified in the act.

On a more general note, the actual fitment within the vehicle must also be legally compliant. The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, regulation 30(1) states:

‘Every motor vehicle shall be so designed and constructed that the driver thereof while controlling the vehicle can at all times have a full view of the road and traffic ahead of the motor vehicle’

This means that there should be nothing attached to the windscreen or placed in front of the windscreen that could be deemed to obscure the driver’s view of the road.

From an enforcement perspective, any device or sticker should not encroach into the swept area more than 40mm and there should be nothing encroaching on the area of windscreen directly in front of the driver. So any camera fitted to the windscreen inside a vehicle must not encroach more than 40mm into the swept area.

Another similar device to a camera is a driver monitor which monitors both the driver and the road to the front of the vehicle. A driver monitor is classed as an acceptable feature and their presence within the swept area of the windscreen is accepted, provided the installation does not seriously impair the driver’s view of the road.

Failure to comply with the requirements to fit any devices or place stickers on the windscreen so as not to encroach more than 40mm and/or obscure the drivers view of the road ahead can result in a penalty of £50.
FTA offers a wider range of services, including Van Services, to keep your operation running smoothly as well as a wide range of safety and compliance products in our Shop. 
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

Posted: 18/01/2017 12:24:39 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

C is for Customs

For most people working in the international logistics sector the biggest impact of Brexit will be on the changes to the rules and procedures they need to observe for the movement of goods across borders. Britain imports more than she exports and the although much is made of the prospects for exporters in the political debate, the changes will be just as important to business sourcing goods from Europe and the forwarders and carriers bringing them into the UK.

So how will Customs procedures change after Britain leaves the EU?

The answer to that question depends on exactly what relationship Britain ends up agreeing with the European Union over future access to the European single market. Much of the current political debate is about the trade-offs of being part of Customs-free trading relationship (the Customs Union) and restricting the free movement of people and the jurisdiction of the European Court over British legal judgements, both of which appear to be essential outcomes for a lot of people in the Brexit debate.

There are, however, a range of options for the way the trading relationship Britain ends up having with Europe and each one will brings its own range of Customs rules and trade procedures. It will be the nitty gritty detail of these rules and procedures that will decide just how burdensome it will be for British companies to import and export goods. That’s not to say it won’t happen, just that a lot of people – many of them in FTA member companies – will be be working hard over the next few years to learn the new rules, sort out the procedures and make it all happen as close to the current levels of efficiency and reliability.

The options available fall into four broad categories.

1. Out of the European Union, but still in the Customs Union, like Turkey. This would limit what other trade deals Britain could strike with other non-EU countries

2. Out of the EU and the Customs Union but still in the European Economic Area (EEA), like Norway. This will probably require Britain to accept the free movement of people and be subject to the rulings of the European Court

3. Out of the EU, the Customs Union and the EEA, and striking a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with either the EU en bloc or with individual EU countries, like Russia.

4. If none of the above applies then Britain can still trade with the EU under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, like most African countries.

The issue for FTA members will be the change in procedures from what happens now, with Britain a fully paid-up member of the EU, the Customs Union and the Single Market. The four options are being vigorously debated by the media in terms of political consequences, however, virtually nothing is known about the precise requirements for goods passing into and out of the EU under the different relationships. So FTA is liaising with other trade bodies and institutions to work out exactly what importers and exporters would need to do under each of these four options: what forms, what paperwork, what declarations, what tariffs would need to be used?

Getting all this worked now doesn’t just mean we can be ready to tell members what to do when the eventual relationship is agreed. There is a bigger purpose: FTA believes the ease with which goods can be imported and exported should be as big a part of deciding which option the Government negotiates as the many other factors at stake. Using our analysis of the impact of Brexit on Customs and trade procedures, FTA will be working out with its members what would be the best set of arrangements for Britain to continue trading with Europe and the rest of world and making the sure the Government is fully aware of the consequences of its decisions.

We will be producing our first analysis and report in time for our Keep Britain Trading Conference on Wednesday 15 March 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster.  This event aims to make sure you are Brexit-ready and understand the trade options available to the Government as it negotiates Brexit and their impact on operations, how we can make future free trade agreements more logistics friendly and the latest perspectives from the UK Government. Book your place today at this must-attend conference.

Keep up-to-date on all the latest Brexit developments with our Brexit Webinars. You can view our past webinars and also register for upcoming ones to ensure you are always on top of the latest views and news.

Posted: 16/01/2017 13:54:14 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Delegates at FTA’s series of Transport Manager conferences have been given food for thought by Martin Flach, Product Director of the events’ headline sponsor Iveco, when he claimed that running an HGV on natural gas could save them up to 40 per cent in fuel costs.

Revealing that 40 per cent of the total cost of fleet ownership is fuel and AdBlue, Flach said, “Everybody worries about purchasing and financing but really you should be worrying about fuel and AdBlue.”

He argued that the annual average fuel costs for a truck to cover 100,000 miles is £44,000, based on the assumption of nine miles per gallon and a contract price of 87 pence per litre for diesel. Flach said, “If you can save one per cent on fuel that’s £440. If the fuel price goes up that’s fuel savings of £500 a year.”

Iveco has spent a lot of time and effort on saving fuel. This includes reducing friction in the engine, low viscosity oils and anti-idling functions. Other features include an alternator, air compressor and steering pump that only run when they need to.

Together with smart EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) for improved combustion, Flach claimed that all of these modifications can give you anything up to a 5.4 per cent saving on fuel.

Iveco has also installed a predictive driving system called High Cruise, linking GPS to cruise control. Flach said smaller engines working harder could achieve much faster rear axle ratios to keep the engine revs down, while on tyres the key point was to fit quality.

With all the technology they had, Flach maintained that with the right operation, you can save 10 per cent on your fuel, worth around £4,400.

Fuelling change
Taking delegates through a history of fuel, from wood in the 1700s to diesel in the 1930, Flach said, “In more recent years, natural gas is a fuel which has become available for commercial vehicles, and now we’re looking at not just natural gas but biomethane as well.”

Arguing that the replacement fuel has to be something that is as good as diesel, Flach said Iveco has examined all the alternatives: hybrids, hydrogen, CNG, biodiesel, ethanol and electric.

Fuel efficiency? It’s a gas
The one that really works for Iveco is natural gas, partly because of its diverse applications. “We can use it in urban environments, regional environments, light off road, and with Liquid Natural Gas long-haul,” Flach said.

While not new technology, Flach said the beauty of natural gas as a fuel is not only cost, but its air quality benefits too. He said, “NOx particulates are way better than diesel and CO2 emissions using fossil natural gas are about 10 per cent better than diesel. If you use a biomethane then you’re getting up to 80-90 per cent better.”

Iveco offers a nine-litre natural gas engine with 400 horsepower, the same power and torque that you get with a diesel engine. Flach said, “We’ve optimised the layout to get as much gas on as possible so you get the longest range possible. We can do LNG we can do CNG, we can do a mixture of the two where that works.”

The other advantage with natural gas is the simplicity of the technology, which Flach contrasted favourably with “the huge chemistry set” of a Euro VI diesel engine. He said, “The argument is natural gas, no EGR, no SCR, no AdBlue, no particulate filter, no post injection, really simple technology. It gives a very clean solution, a very economic solution and a very safe solution.”

And the cost savings? Assuming the contract price of a litre of diesel is 87 pence and the price of a kilo of natural gas is 64 pence, you achieve a 25 per cent saving on a kilo of gas compared to a litre of diesel, and you save about 15 per cent in kilos against litres. Flach concluded, “You end up with something in the region of 30-40 per cent of fuel saving costs against the diesel vehicle.”
Read more insights from Matt Harrington, Editor of our monthly magazine, Freight & Logistics. The magazine is free to FTA members or available to purchase via subscription to non-members.

Posted: 09/01/2017 13:45:21 by Global Administrator | with 0 comments