uber

Uber branching out!

In mid May, Uber announced the Uber Freight App, which connects trucking companies and drivers with shippers. In similarity to its ride sharing app, users will be able to view near by drivers and book loads, sending a rate confirmation within seconds. 

However, it faces stiff competition from already established apps in the freight industry.  Convoy offers similar services to Uber, and can bid on rates as opposed to offering flat rates, and Go99, based in Vancouver, has a similar model. Amazon is also reportedly working on a matching app at present.

Uber is promising to pay truckers within 7 days, much less than the standard 30 days companies normally need to wait. With no haggling with brokers, back and forth negotiations or hassles, Uber are marketing themselves as the middle man but not the forwarder.  According to their website, they fundamentally believe that by focusing on drivers’ pain points we can solve the industry’s biggest challenges. Happy drivers means happy shippers, and ultimately everyone benefits, including the end consumers of the goods. We’ve built a team of industry experts, leading technologists, and, of course, truck drivers to help us push the industry forward and level the playing field for trucking companies.

At the moment Uber are just rolling this out in America, and it will take a long time, if ever, for it to become something that the UK uses.  Taking the personal touch away from freight delivery isn’t necessarily a good thing, and being able to have someone manage your delivery is a part of the process. It remains to be seen whether they can make this as successful as their other ventures, and break into an industry that is already very well established.

lorry under bridge

Lorries need to use suitable Sat Navs

According to a new study, motorists who rely on computer navigation devices do in fact “switch off” part of their brain in the process.

A University College London team took 24 volunteers on a two-hour walking tour of Soho, then asked them to “drive” a computer-simulated car through the area’s narrow streets the following day. They detected spikes of activity in two key areas of the brain, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, when the volunteers were forced to navigate for themselves. But where they relied on instructions from a Sat Nav, no activity above normal levels was detected.

So, how do lorry drivers fair? There are always plenty of articles in newspapers discussing how villages are under siege from giant lorries using narrow streets as a short cut, or driving the wrong way up the one way high street.

The Local Government Association (LGA) wants legislation brought in to make sure lorry drivers in England and Wales use a GPS system suitable for HGVs. It also wants councils to have the power to ensure drivers avoid routes where they exceed the weight or height limit. Commercial GPS systems designed for lorries include information on bridge heights and narrow roads. They also allow lorry drivers to enter their vehicle dimensions to ensure they are instructed to follow a suitable route. Police forces in Wales and Greater London already have the power to enforce weight and height restrictions on HGVs but councils are urging the government to roll this out across England. Some councils have been working with freight and haulage companies to ensure drivers are using the most suitable routes.

However, being unfamiliar with the area you are driving in is all too familiar for lorry drivers. Specialist Sat Navs may help to alleviate the problem but they can still misinterpret where they are going and send you somewhere that is completely incorrect and unsafe. Trying to then manoeuvre out of that predicament can be tricky at best, dangerous at worst. The bottom line is: lorry drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and rely on their instinct and driving ability rather than completely relying on a Sat Nav!

pot-hole

Lorry pothole claims rejected by road transport group

The poor state of Britian’s roads does not lie with the logistics industry say the Freight Transport Association (FTA)

According to the Local Government Association (LGA) there are more potholes and wear of the roads because of the 5% rise in lorries on British roads since last year, an increase of 1.7bnt.

LGA transport spokesman Martin Tett said…

“Our local roads network faces an unprecedented funding crisis and the latest spike in lorries could push our local roads network over the edge. Lorries exert massively more weight on road surfaces than cars, causing them to crumble far quicker.”

According to the Department of Transport’s road freight statistics the food and drink industry accounted for nearly a quarter of the road traffic in the UK in 2015. However, the FTA refute this, instead calling the lack of government spending on repairs the real issue. The FTA insist that the cuts to local insfrastructure have caused a repair backlog on a national level.

The FTA’s head of policy Christopher Snelling said the LGA’s report was an attempt to escape responsibility for the problem…

“The real issue is the need for increased funding from central government to address the potholes problem nationwide, local authorities are facing large bills – one-off costs of approximately £69M per council – to bring their roads up to a reasonable condition.”

Snelling continued…

“The transportation of essential goods on our roads is crucial to the continued health of the economy. To claim that lorries are the cause of the potholes across the country is simply not true. Larger lorries do not cause increased damage to the road surface – in fact, they have more axles which spread payloads more evenly. When combined with road-friendly twin tyres and road-friendly suspension, this reduces the impact of road usage by lorries.”

When responding to a recent RAC survey on potholes, Martin Tett had this as his response…

‘’Councils are fixing more potholes than ever – one every 15 seconds – and keeping roads safe is one of the most important jobs we do. However, councils face a £12 billion backlog of road repairs, which would already take councils more than 10 years to clear. Over the remaining years of this decade the Government will invest over £1.1 million per mile in maintaining main roads and motorways, which make up just three per cent of all total roads. However, it invests £27,000 per mile in council-controlled local roads, which make up 97 per cent of England’s road network. This difference in funding puts the country’s businesses at a competitive disadvantage and provides poor value for money’’

The state of Britain’s roads has long been a source of contention, but with increased usage and little money to make improvements, unfortunately our industry will always be under scrutiny.