We’ve been able to catch up with our Managing Director, Alan Miles to talk about the most recent obstacles we’ve been experiencing as a company
How does weather impact the business?
The pace remains hectic. Last week we had our first storm of the season.
We had made good preparations by keeping on top of the weather forecast.
The snow away from our depots is generally not within our control.
However within our depots, they were all were gritted and we had no issues.
The biggest issue was at Cairnryan where both ports closed and Operation Stack was put in place. We managed to minimise our exposure and generally performed well through the disruption.
How busy is it at the moment with volume?
The market continues to be at levels below last year due to Brexit stocking up in 2020.
However the last 2 weeks like for like are up on 2019.
In week 3 in November we had our highest ever revenue for one week.
For whatever reason seasonal stocks have been late and are now catching up.
Has the driver availability issue been stabilised?
The driver situation remains stable.No imminent danger.
Is the demand still outstripping supply?
By week 3 in November, frustrated demand was up as we prioritised existing customers over new business.
Are there any product shortages impacting the business?
Some spare parts are getting longer to source for trailers and we have had a number off the road due to this.
What is the tender activity like?
Tender activity is very low; many businesses are not going to tender but renewing with incumbent. Another trend is short term deals with Covid in mind.
We have renewed some business on a rolling 6 months basis.
Earlier in the year there were significant delays at tipping points is that still the case?
Delays at delivery points have intensified. Drivers are refusing to go to some sites as a result.
Are there any other trends?
Vehicle accidents are showing a worsening trend in the last 3 weeks due to a combination of events:
Inexperienced drivers or out of practice drivers
The average speed has been at its lowest since February 2020.
Any shipping to Ireland issues?
On ships to Ireland there have been increasing technical issues meaning some reduction in capacity.Northern Ireland remains very busy. Republic of Ireland not so much.
How are the preparations for next steps re Brexit?
Our preparations for Brexit changes are well up to speed; essentially all to do with the UK/Republic of Ireland and vice versa trade where GMRs need to be completed as well as PBNs. It is still an ongoing concern re a solution for the Northern Ireland protocol; we have tried to have a contingency plan re all options.
What concerns are there re new covid virus?
On Covid we are reenergising all our activity to prevent, including limiting travel within the business.
How would you summarise the year?
At the end of 2020 I said that 2020 had been like no other. Guess what? The same can be said for 2021!
Think what has been thrown at us in 2021 – more Covid, lockdowns Brexit, inconsistent demand, driver shortages, staff shortages. parts shortages, long lead times for new trailers and vehicles product shortages.
Any closing comments?
I am so proud of the way we collectively have maintained service and energy.
All that remains is for me to thank you so much for your business and positive mindset during 2021 and wish you, your families and colleagues a restful stress free Christmas.
I am sure 2022 will bring new challenges which we will collectively meet.