Export & Freight Sept-Oct 21

It has been another busy period in the transport & logistics sector following the much welcomed summer break, and with the impact of the global pandemic easing in this part of the world, there’s a growing sense of optimism in the business community, albeit guarded.

UK commercial vehicle production grew to 5,625 units in July according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Production grew by 7.5% compared to the same month in 2020 when production lines were running at a reduced capacity due to social distancing measures and dwindling order numbers due to low business confidence.

But production over the year-to-date remains -21.3% below the average for the five years pre-Covid, and could be impacted in the coming months because of supply shortages of semi-conductor chips and an increase in the numbers of workers who have been required to self-isolate.

In other news, the government’s decision to scrap the test for towing trailers up
to 3,500kgs may have been condemned by safety organisations, but it has been welcomed by Logistics UK. By removing the trailer test an extra 50,000 HGV lorry tests will now be available each year which should help the driver shortage in the long term, but it may not have any impact on the looming busy Christmas period; empty shop shelves are a real possibility as a result.

With so many challenges, it may be a good idea to book a seat at the forthcoming Logistics UK’s Transport Manager conference being held at the Culloden Estate & Spa in Belfast next month. Topics to be covered at the one-day event will include logistics in urban centres, low emission vehicles, working safely with alternative fuels, a compliance update and much more.

On the truck front, we report on MAN’s new Truck Generation, and with production of DAF’s New Generation of trucks beginning in October, we had the opportunity to travel to Spain for a road test. Closer to home, we got to see up close the all-new Volvo Truck range at Dennison Commercials in Ballyclare.

Meanwhile, after a year’s absence because of the Covid-19 lockdown, the annual Export & Freight Masters Golf Day was once again staged at the Faldo Championship Golf Course at Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh. We have a comprehensive pictorial report on what was a memorable day for all.

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