Right Fuel Card has reported results from a recent survey it has conducted, which it says demonstrate a “sustained lack of confidence in the haulage and transport sector”.
According to the survey, just over half of haulage and transport firms who took part felt positive or very positive about the next 12 months. Whilst this is an improvement from last year, says Right Fuel Card – when less than 1 in 5 businesses in the industry reported feeling optimistic – clearly challenges remain.
To understand these challenges better, the company has been working closely with Freightlink Europe and LMP Legal to examine some of these challenges in depth.
A joint event in September, attended by both hauliers and others connected to the transport industry, stressed the need for additional control measures when using agency drivers and explained how drivers, and transport operators, can be better supported should a driver be involved in an incident.
Lesley O’Brien OBE, MD of Freightlink Europe, highlighted the fact that poor compliance when recruiting agency drivers can have a significant impact on operators, including putting an operator’s license at risk.
O’Brien recommended a range of measures which could be put in place prior to recruitment to ensure due diligence of the driver and agency, thereby providing increased protection for the operator should something go wrong.
Expanding on this theme, Charlotte le Maire, Founder and Partner of LMP Legal, drew attention to the increased penalties faced by drivers since a change in the law last year.
However, it’s not just drivers who are at risk; transport operators could also face investigation in terms of policies, training, procedures, and compliance, should an incident occur.
Attendees were encouraged to consider what legal support they had in place, particularly during the ‘golden minutes’ following an incident where a driver is most vulnerable.
All attendees agreed, though, that one of the largest, and increasingly most unpredictable concerns is the cost of fuel.
After months of falling prices, the rising wholesale oil price, and falling strength of the pound against the dollar, is expected to push fuel prices higher over the winter months, says Right Fuel Card.
More than ever, the company contends, hauliers should be evaluating whether a switch in fuel card, or fuel card supplier, would be beneficial.
David James, director at Right Fuel Card has emphasised that whilst price would always be a key factor, hauliers should also be considering the convenience of the card network they use, stating, “As an independent reseller, we’re able to be impartial and ensure that the card and network we recommend to each customer really is right for their needs.
“Fuel card administration should take an operator just a few minutes but picking the wrong card or network can cause additional time and money spent on unnecessary admin, as well as creating additional costs.”
Right Fuel Card says it aims to help businesses in the haulage and transport industry reduce fuel purchase administration by matching them with the right card and network.