Trucks and lorries are a familiar sight on the roads of Britain, with around 139bn tonnes of freight being moved by Britain’s road hauliers every year according to a recent PwC report. Their goods in transit range from your spring new potatoes to the car accessories you buy in readiness for winter driving. And with over 32,000 truck and road haulage businesses in the UK employing around 200,000 employees to drive, coordinate and look after these trucks, it’s no surprise that trucking is worth £25bn (IBIS World) to the UK economy. It’s a vital business; one that’s dependent on good value truck insurance if it, and by extension the UK’s economy, is to keep moving, especially when times are as hard as they are today.
Britain’s Haulage Industry: Fighting an Uphill Battle
Being a British truck driver may seem like a great job; cruising across Europe, the open road your workplace, your lorry’s cab your office. Alas Britain’s haulage industry is facing a huge number of issues at present. For a start Britain’s truck drivers have increasingly been left counting the cost of illegal immigrants trying to get from Calais into the UK via the tunnel and the port. Such actions have often forced the authorities to close Calais and implement Operation Stack, the emergency plan that results in thousands of trucks being parked on the M20 and in nearby airfields.
This problem is politically charged and large in scale, not least when it comes to the cost to British businesses. The value of trade travelling between Britain and Europe via the English Channel is estimated at around £170bn a year, with 60% of it going by lorries on ferries. British lorry drivers have faced what has been described as a ‘war zone’ around Calais in recent years, with French and British customs officials battling to keep migrants stowing away on British trucks. The result of all this activity has been costly delays and even entire loads being written off owing to perishability and damage by the migrants themselves at a potential cost of several hundred thousand pounds per load. On this issue the industry has been helped by insurance brokers such as Coversurethrough their goods in transit insurance policies which can insure loads and protect truckers and road hauliers from significant losses.
In other key areas too, British truckers have had to battle hard just to survive. Fuel prices are relatively high in the UK compared to those in Continental Europe, with French and Spanish drivers paying around 15% less for their diesel. And if that wasn’t a financial burden enough, British HGVdrivers have to find an annual road fund tax of up to £2,585 rather than have the convenience of the pay-as-you drive system of other countries. Throw in a working week that’s 10% higher than the UK average and it becomes clear how tough things are for Britain’s hauliers and truck drivers.
Britain’s Haulage Industry: Better Times Ahead
Happily the forecast for the UK haulage industry is looking brighter, and at the end of the day we need to keep the trucks rolling so here are Coversure’s top tips for truckers:
Split Your Fuel
This isn’t as painful as it sounds. Choosing between a fuel contract and spot purchases can be a difficult choice. Spot purchases are fantastic when fuel prices are falling where as a fuel contract (such as using fuel cards and bunkering) would be beneficial if fuel prices are rising. The best option is to split it and decide at the time, though as we write, with prices low and falling, spot purchases would seem wise.
Invest in Your Business
According to the Department of Transport, it is predicted that the level of European freight transport activity will increase by over 80% from 2005 to 2050 meaning that drivers may soon be in short supply. With interest rates at record lows and angel investors looking for returns, now is a great time to put money into driver training, trucks and marketing to grow your business and make the most of the predicted increase.
Keep up with Maintenance
When a truck isn’t trucking it’s costing you money so it’s always a good idea to put maximum effort and resource into making sure that your trucks are ready to go without delay. In tough times cutting back on maintenance can seem like a sensible economy, whereas in reality it’s a false economy.
Get the right Truck Insurance
It goes without saying you know that truck insurance is a must-have for your business, but getting the best goods in transit insurance for your lorries is a must too. By using a broker such as Coversure, you can ensure that you’re getting the right policy for at the right price. Over the last 12 months, Coversure have been able to provide high-quality goods in transit insurance for around 995 vehicles and yours could next.