The 17th annual Export & Freight Transport & Logistics Awards at
what is Northern Ireland’s biggest venue – the Waterfront in Belfast –
proved yet another night to remember in the Irish transport calendar.
Some 700 guests gathered for the gala evening to recognise and reward the very best in an industry that continues to meet its challenges head-on with resilience and perseverance.
Commented Export & Freight publisher Helen Beggs: “The changes in the transport industry in recent years have challenged us to survive in the face of extreme adversity. Evolution, not revolution, has been the war cry of the successful.
“Emerging from ten years of austerity, straight into Brexit, then discovering Northern Ireland is both the challenger and the defender of Europe due to our unique border situation. This is not helped by still having no Executive at Stormont, by constantly changing regulations and by the chronic driver shortage. Around 15% of Northern Ireland drivers and 25% of warehouse staff are EU nationals, so what will happen to them in the wake of Brexit?
“But it is what it is – and right now it’s a mess. According to the FTA, out of all our ‘O’ licences, 27% are international, compared to 10% in GB. There are just under 13,000 commercial vehicle movements across the Irish border each day and 20% of these are agri food, which may require physical and veterinary checks. If a visible border comes into force, there could be total paralysis.
“So, here’s a request to government: Please don’t unfriend the haulage industry – you need us to make the country work.”
Helen later went on to thank the 24 strong awards judging panel which included Gerry Fleming, SOE/IRTE; Seamus Leheny, Freight Transport Association; Martin Hutchinson, CEO, Transport Training Services; Louise Moules, Road Haulage Association; TTS Driving Instructors Colin Hamill and Colin Skelton; and the extensive Truck of the Year and Van of the Year panels.
A big ‘thank you’ too to our generous sponsors and to all who submitted entries, without which support and participation these awards would not happen.
Meanwhile, it was a special night for RK Trucks Managing Director Donal Rice as he picked up the award for ‘Transport Personality of the Year’. The inaugural ‘Pick-Up of the Year,’ award went to the Isuzu D-Max 1.9 Yukon. ‘Van of the Year’ for the second year running was the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, while the DAF XF was named ‘Fleet Truck of the Year.’
The nominated charity for the night was Just for Children, with the focus on the young grandson of the founder of Export & Freight Darryl Magee. Ethan was born with his twin Luke three months early. Luke survived just two short months and Ethan was then diagnosed with the brain injury PVL. Then at 18 months, Cerebral Palsy. He cannot walk or stand unaided. But through the determination of his loving family, they have found global expert Dr T.S. Park in America who specialises in Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. This will enable him to sit up, walk and change his life.
Generous guests donated a staggering £7,442 which will help send Ethan to America for much needed treatment – many thanks to one and all.
So, who won what and why on the night? Find out over the following pages, and if you weren’t among the winners, there’s always next year…