ADR training wasted on drivers – ‘better suited to traffic staff’

Robert Wilcox, the managing director of Massey Wilcox Transport, has just earned himself a place high up on the list of people I wouldn’t want to work for.

According to this report Mr Wilcox thinks so little of his drivers’ capacity for learning that he believes that ADR training is wasted on them and they should only be trained ‘what to do in the case of an emergency’.

He goes on to say “Drivers are not the best classroom attendees, and whatever is crammed into their heads to get them through the exam is promptly forgotten a week later”. I wonder how Mr Wilcox thinks that his drivers managed to gain their existing professional qualifications, not to mention how he thinks they’ll cope with the new driver CPC qualification. However does he think they manage to drive his company’s vehicles competently and safely if they’re not capable of retaining knowledge for more than a week?

Mr Wilcox makes the case that the traffic staff should have the training because “after all, it’s their decision what is carried and when”.

That might be how Mr Wilcox operates his company, but its certainly not best practice and it’s a possible sign of a company operating on the fringes of legality. It’s for the driver, and no-one else, to decide whether it’s safe for him to take a load out. The driver bears the ultimate responsibility for the safety of his load, his vehicle and himself and no under-trained cretin in a traffic office 200 miles away is entitled to take decisions on his behalf.

It’s this type of attitude – ‘the traffic office knows best’ – which is behind some of the sloppiest and most unsafe practices in the transport industry: drivers’ hours infringements, speeding, overloading, health and safety breaches – all because of the ‘just get it done’ attitude in the traffic office and the pressure put on drivers to do what the traffic staff tells them to do.

Only yesterday I had a call from a same day courier who’d been sent in to an end user to collect a load on behalf of another transport company. The carriage of the load clearly required an ADR trained driver and both the consignor and the transport company were aware of that fact. The owner-driver, Read More…

Posted under Hazardous Goods - ADR

Posted by Alec at 6:02 pm, September 23, 2008

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MTvan, Courier Finance Ltd & Tim Gilbert: Physician, heal thyself

It looks like Tim Gilbert has finally exposed himself as the arse that I’d always suspected he was. Tim of course is (or maybe was, who knows) head of the failed (or maybe failing, who knows) Courier Finance Ltd ’empire’, which included Speed Couriers, MTvan, CFL and some slightly dodgy-looking ‘learn how to be a courier’ websites designed to either part courier owner-drivers from their cash or to steer them towards the Mtvan website which would do the same.

Somewhat of a self-proclaimed courier industry guru, Tim is quite profuse with his advice to other, less experienced, businessmen on how they should run their same day courier businesses. Some would say that he was well qualified to give such advice, having started Speed Couriers from scratch (along with Martin Rutty) and then apparently playing his part in steering it through its troubles in 2001-02.

The collapse of OnDigital, one of Speed’s largest customers, and their foray into the home delivery market caused severe problems for the business back in 2002, so it might be expected that Tim would be more wary than most of allowing a single customer to become too important to the business, of allowing a business with no history of profitable trading to run up a significant (and Read More…

Posted under Courier and Freight Exchanges, Courier Business

Posted by Alec at 11:13 am, September 16, 2008

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MTvan gone bust?

For some weeks I’ve been controlling my anger about the latest shady trick played by Courier Finance Ltd, the owners of MTvan.com. I’d planned to write something in the next few days about their way of doing business, which I’ve considered for some time to be slightly less than honest and open.

Not content with lying to their original members about their membership fees giving them life membership, they sneakily bought the courier forum www.link4couriers.com while hiding its ownership from its members, saturating the site with advertising for their associated (and I think highly questionable) business ventures and claiming for two years that it was “by far the largest independent forum for couriers and courier owner drivers”. Independent my arse, about as independent as their courier exchange site that was actually run by a company that was quietly in competition with many of its members.

Anyway, it seems that events have overtaken me and I won’t get the chance to launch the scathing attack on their business that I had intended to. It turns out that the experienced businessmen at Courier Finance Ltd decided that after Amtrak had gone into liquidation in 2007 it would be a good idea to extend credit terms to the newly-formed Netfold Ltd, which bought the business from the liquidators. It also appears that they didn’t notice when Netfold failed to file its first accounts on time in March 2008 and seemingly continued to provide credit to them until they went into administration at the Read More…

Posted under Courier and Freight Exchanges, Courier Scams

Posted by Alec at 7:41 pm, September 10, 2008

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Apparently this is the perfect time to buy or lease a new van

According to this report van prices have dropped by 9% in the last three months and dealers are now offering attractive low rate finance deals.

The article quotes Duncan Coleman of vansunited.co.uk as saying “We’ve not only seen retailers and manufacturers reduce their new and used prices, but they’ve applied finance offers to LCVs that were once the preserve of the car market. Now is the perfect time to buy for those businesses wanting to secure a strong deal.”

I suppose if you’re set on buying a new van in the next year or so then now might be the time to do it, but I’d question whether this is really the perfect time to buy.

While the last six weeks or so have been encouragingly busy for many same day couriers there’s no certainty about the future at all. Whether we’re on the brink of a cataclysmic recession or not it’s clear that many companies aren’t in a position to last the next few months, never mind considering investment in new vehicles.

There are many bargains to be had at auctions at the moment, nearly new vans Read More…

Posted under Fuel Prices, Vans

Posted by Alec at 6:15 pm, September 9, 2008

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