Memorandum by the Road Haulage Association
Ltd (P 31)
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) was formed
in 1945 to look after the interests of haulage contractors in
various areas of the country, in effect, amalgamating local organisations
that had been established. The association has subsequently developed
to become the primary trade association representing the hire-or-reward
sector of the road transport industry. There are now some 10,000
companies in membership varying from major companies with over
5,000 vehicles down to owner-drivers.
The road haulage industry plays a pivotal role
in the UK economy carrying some 81 per cent of all domestic freight.
In 1999 this amounted to:
991 million tonnes carried in hire-or-reward
576 million tonnes carried in own
account operators' vehicles;
a total of 1.567 billion tonnes moved
by road transport;
149 billion tonne kilometres on road
an average length of haul of 50 km
for rigid vehicles, 136 km for articulated lorries and 95 km as
an overall average.
There are around 112,000 holders of operating
licences, some for own-account transport and others for the provision
of hire-or-reward services. Between them they operate some 421,000
goods vehicle of over 3.5 tonnes gross weight of which about 70,000
are 38 tonne lorries. It is worth noting that twenty years ago
approximately 500,000 vehicles carried a smaller volume of traffic
reflecting the very considerable efficiency gains that the industry
has made. The industry employs about 500,000 drivers together
with a similar number of ancillary staff in warehouses, workshops
TO UK ECONOMY
UK Ports are an essential element to the continuing
success of the UK economywithout them we would not be able
to maintain the lifestyle that we currently enjoy. The freight
industry, both international and domestic, relies heavily on our
ports. According to Government figures:
over 388m tonnes of international
freight moved through UK ports in 1999 representing 95 per cent
of the UK's international freight tonnage movements and 75 per
cent by value; and
another 177 million tonnes of domestic
freight moved through UK ports;
there were five million vehicle movements
and over four million unaccompanied containers passed through;
there was an 81 per cent increase
in the tonnage carried in containers between 1988 and 1999;
Ro-Ro traffic has grown by 51 per
cent since 1991 and accounted for 14 per cent of all UK port freight
traffic in 1999.
4. WHAT HAULIERS
As major users (customers) of the UK ports,
hauliers and freight distributors have a number of basic requirements
that they need to be provided by Ports. These include:
Good access (by road or rail etc)
to and from the PortProfessional road users are covered
by stringent regulations covering drivers' hours etc. Delays getting
to and from Ports could interfere with the hauliers' ability to
meet their customers' deadlines and/or increase the overall cost
(if for example, replacement drivers are required because of driver's
hours limits etc). The imminent introduction of the Working Time
Directive for mobile workers will further reduce the scope for
accommodating delays as it will result in a considerable reduction
in drivers' hours. In addition, if more freight is to be encouraged
to use the railways, then better (and in many cases new) rail
links must be provided;
Efficient service within the Portdelays
within the Port should be kept to a minimum to ensure unnecessary
extra costs (to the haulier) are not incurred;
Good security within the Portgood
security is important for a number of reasons: hauliers' cargoes
often are of extremely high value and there are occasions where
it is necessary for vehicles to be kept in the Port for a lengthy
period of time; a significant amount of traffic comes through
ports in unaccompanied containers and trailers and therefore relies
on the vigilance of the port's staff; with the introduction of
fines for vehicles found to be carrying (knowingly or otherwise)
illegal immigrants, good facilities are essential;
Fair and reasonable chargescharges
should not discriminate against particular types of users and
should not be excessive. The higher the charges incurred by hauliers,
the higher the cost to their customers and thus to the consumers
of the goods;
Development of ports (in terms of
capacity and facilities) to meet demandif goods cannot
efficiently be moved through ports, consignors and consignees
will simply look for alternatives. On occasions such alternatives
may exist within the UK but if they do not, then business may
well be lost to continental competitors. Clearly this would have
a detrimental impact on UK businesses and on the economy.
5. CURRENT FACILITIES
All too frequently the M20 is used as a park
up because of delays to ferry crossings caused by poor weather
or industrial action in France. Freight Clearance not being completed
at the Port of exit in particular for unaccompanied traffic can
cause problems for the haulier and shipper especially if a driver
runs out of hours.
The road haulage industry has been concerned
for many years about the inadequacies of truck parking and over-night
facilities for drivers generally, and more particular in regard
to the lack of secure parking. So it was particularly disturbing
to be advised by Southampton City Council recently that Lorraine's
Auto Security Park was closing in order to allow for an important
housing development and no alternative proposed. This is only
one example of a continuing trend by local authorities. Some 3,000
or more heavy vehicles and their loads still go missing every
yearmany of which are never recoveredrepresenting
an estimated insurance value of around £1 billion annually.
This is a continuing menace causing excessive cost and untold
disruption to the industry at large, and potential financial disaster
to the individual haulier whose vehicle is stolen.
Driver facilities at ports need to be improved
especially good wash facilities for drivers. For example, the
Port of Tilbury refuses to allow drivers access to canteens on
the Port. The net result is a constant sprinkling of parked HGVs
with loaded containers parked just outside the Port opposite Asda.
This makes a mockery of security measures within the Port areas.
Driver hours and the waiting at Ports for tipping and collection
make the likelihood of rest periods being taken at the ports high.
The Government has begun to tackle some of the
problems being experienced with the publication of its paper "Modern
Ports: A UK Policy". The RHA welcomes the publication and
many of the commitments contained within it. However, there are
a number of issues where we do not feel problems have been adequately
For example, whilst we are pleased that the
Government will be looking at the possibility of extending freight
facilities grants to encourage water borne freight, we are disappointed
that the Government is not giving greater encouragement (or even
assistance?) to Ports to invest in rail improvements. We accept
that between them the Strategic Rail Authority, Railtrack and
the Ports have the responsibility to bring about increased investment,
but we remain to be convinced that, left to their own devices,
the situation will improve in any significant way.
We are disappointed also that port security
seems to be tackled in a piecemeal way and is given a low priority.
Security at ports has increased significantly in recent years
but is not infallible where forged/stolen documents are used.
The quality of CCTV equipment needs to be updated to digital recording
(video recording needs replacing) at all sites. Reliance placed
at a later date for evidence of vehicles/drivers leaving will
be severely compromised. There is a need for minimum standards
of CCTV equipment used at ports. This is an area that cannot be
compromised as it has been in the past. As mentioned above, ensuring
the security of valuable vehicles and their loads is a high priority
for our members.
The document states that the HSC is currently
consulting on proposals to update the "Dangerous Substances
in Harbour Area Regulations". We currently face revisions
of the ADR regulations and some changes to the IMDG Code together
with some possible revision of the UK Regulations. We would suggest,
therefore, that there needs to be as much uniformity as possible
between all the differing relations in order to make comprehension
as easy as possible as well as enforcement. The RHA would also
endorse any initiatives in maintaining and further training of
"front line" personnel particularly where it would enable
them to recognise Dangerous Goods and hazards.
Specialist Liaison Committees are very good
way of discussing and addressing many specific Port issues and
concerns raised by our Members. This Form of Best Practice should
be extended to all Ports.
Finally, little attention has been given to
the importance of an efficient road system to access the ports.
The majority of people and freight still arrive at the ports by
road. Such roads must be maintained to the highest standard to
avoiding causing unnecessary delays to reaching and entering or
leaving the port.
The RHA welcomes the Committee's inquiry and
hopes that it will lead to the further steps being taken by Government
that we feel are necessary to facilitate the required improvement.
Failure to ensure that UK Ports are able to meet the requirements
of their customers will be damaging to those Ports, to the freight
industry, to businesses and to the economy as a whole.