Export & Freight Feb-Mar 2016

There are two schools of thought about what the year ahead holds for our industry. The first is that prospects are looking reasonably good in most sectors which should benefit from an economy that is healthy, thanks to some extent to low interest rates and cheaper fuel prices. Interestingly, annual trading figures from Belfast Harbour show the number of freight vehicles handled, an indicator of consumer confidence, increased by 5,000, surpassing 480,000 for the first time.

However, there are those who believe 2016 could be a challenging time for the transport industry, with evidence indicating trading conditions are getting tougher. There is one definite and potentially dark cloud on the horizon, though, and that is how the introduction of Euro 6 in the van sector will affect what has been a robust market over the past year. Only time will tell which school of thought is right.

On a more positive note, we have been talking to the head of the Transport Regulation Unit who’s been telling us that Northern Ireland hauliers are becoming increasingly more compliant. In fact, the compliance rate here has risen from a low of around 40% to today’s high of 80%. But, as you will read, there’s still plenty of work to do to improve the image of the industry.

It’s good to note the return of the LDV van range to Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, with one of Ireland’s oldest automotive distributors – the Harris Group – securing the distribution rights. Expect to soon see the launch of four models in the LDV V80 range, with talks to appoint a Northern Ireland dealer currently underway.

Meanwhile, Iveco recently put at our disposal models from the new Eurocargo range during a special ‘ride & drive’ day in Essex. The line-up extends from  7.5 tonnes up to 18 tonnes, which underlines Eurocargo’s impressive versatility; you can read all about it in this issue.

We also have all the information you need to enter this year’s Export & Freight Transport & Logistics Awards, plus news of an exciting new category. And, of course, we have our regular features from the FTA and RHA, whose columns make interesting and timely reading.

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