Happy New Year from Freightlink! What better way to start the new decade by looking back at some of our top articles of 2019? Here are our top picks.
Back in January 2019, we looked at some of the facilities available to drivers on ferries. It’s fair to say things have got much better for freight drivers onboard ferries in the last few years.
“Travelling on a ferry for the first time and don’t know what to expect? Look no further.
We know how important it is to be comfortable on your ferry and there is nothing more frustrating than forgetting your wallet and realising your ticket doesn’t include a meal ticket.
Stena Line provides drivers only areas so you don’t have to make chit chat with holiday makers, DFDS provides a free meal and drink and Brittany Ferries has a cinema. We’ll tell you all that for free.
So if you’re booked on a new passenger line for the first time - check out what to expect.”
Something which is very close to our hearts at Freightlink is driver safety and in particular, the importance of good eyesight and healthy eyes. In November we looked at vision standard requirements in the industry and spoke to one of our local optometrists for some useful advice.
“If you drive professionally, your vision is your most important asset. It keeps you and others safe and could be the difference between you arriving home in one piece and not.
Familiarise yourself with driving requirements frequently, not just on Road Safety Week or when the DVLA requires it of you.
It may help you recognise that you need glasses and save a life.”
Did you know the maximum weight of vehicle allowed on the P&O Ferries Tilbury – Zeebrugge route is 80 tons and it can’t be wider than 6 metres? October’s article looked at facts about abnormal loads and what can be carried with seven of our ferry operators.
“There are many standardised terms in the freight industry. ‘Abnormal’ is one that pops up quite a lot. However, did you know that ‘Abnormal’ dimensions don’t just differ per operator, but per route?
Familiarise yourself with the abnormal restrictions on each load before you book your ferry. If you declare your vehicle as normal and it’s not, you’ll be facing a hefty additional cost once you reach the gates. Alternatively, you could be overpaying for the price of your ticket when your van could fit into standard dimensions.”
June 2019 saw the arrival of new tachograph laws and what they would bring. Our article in April focused on the new technology and the future benefits.
“The technology in these new digital tachographs allows enforcement agencies to read data from them remotely, meaning that there is no need for HGVs to be stopped and their journey disrupted for a routine tachograph reading. The driver is not disturbed, and his time is not wasted. Likewise, enforcement agencies such as the DVSA do not waste their time and potentially miss people breaking the rules by just doing random spot checks.”
Back in March, the new Mercedes Benz Actros and Ford F-Max 500 were creating quite a stir with new self-driving options and fully digitalised dashboards. In the next few months, we’ll be looking at what’s coming this year.
“The F-MAX also includes Ford’s revolutionary technology ‘ConnecTruck’, offering a wide range of benefits. This includes remote monitoring of the vehicle using remote diagnostic and specialised topographic mapping to analyze road conditions, allowing the vehicle to travel at optimum speed, thus reducing fuel consumption by a further 4%.”
April wouldn’t be April without a slightly unbelievable story. Inverted Vehicular Stacking, we think it’s the future of HGV and commercial van ferry travel.
“Whilst the concept is extraordinarily ground-breaking, it’s only natural for seafarers to be sceptical. However, this tried and tested method offers a superior, compacted travel method.
Whilst queuing to board, two attendants will examine each vehicle with a measuring tape - we advise customers to consider carrying their own 5 metre tape as there may be shortages during the first few weeks, especially during windy season.”
Yes, back in January 2019 it was all about Brexit and the ramifications for our customers. That’s why we developed a whole suite of guides and helpful documents to get you through the new processes as simply as possible.
“All we want for our customers in the event of a No-Deal, is for them to be able to carry on trading in Europe, shipping on ferries and Eurotunnel, as easy as they can today.”
It was only in November last year that we realised you could take your pet ferret to Europe as long as they have a passport. Although we did know about the importance of valid documentation and licenses for livestock. Our thorough guide looked at what was needed.
“Although to some extent the laws regarding importing and exporting animals as livestock are similar to those of pets, they tend to be treated as a collective as opposed to individual animals.
Most importantly, all individuals involved with the shipment of animals have both a legal and moral obligation to maintain welfare. That includes farmers and people transporting the animals.”
I’m sure this article will need an update shortly with the new apps that are constantly being developed, but last year we spoke to our friends at TruckNet and asked them which smartphone apps they would recommend for truck drivers. Some of them were quite surprising.
“Recommended by a number of Trucknet members, TachoGuard is an enhanced digital tachograph app designed for HGV drivers, which keeps you safely within EU rules on drivers' hours by monitoring all driving and rest activities. Features include daily planner, activity summary and configurable activity alert alarms.”
Not a subject any one of us would like to be discussing but important that we address it, last year saw a continued decrease in the number of HGV drivers available in the UK. We hope for a positive outcome in 2020.
“The shortage of HGV drivers in the UK has reached an all time high, with 64% of transport businesses facing a severe skills shortage, according to the FTA.
With over 60% of drivers being over the age of 44 and less than 20% being under 35, the UK now has one of the largest national shortages, with 60,000 additional drivers needed to bridge the gap.”
In October one of our resident content writers wrote a fantastic Halloween guide for all the drivers who might not be making it home to celebrate it. Anybody would think they wanted to avoid it.
“Buy some jelly cobwebs to stick to the window or plonk a fake skeleton on the passenger seat and creep out your fellow road users. If you prefer the cheaper DIY option, just splash some concentrated Vimto (other juices available) onto your windows to pass for fake blood and stick the receipt of your regulation safety boots onto your dashboard - that will knock fear into anyone!”