Rain, shine, or snow, the trucks roll

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This is an industry that works tremendously hard come rain, shine or snow. We have just been through a year that for many members has been financially crippling. Yet hauliers are STILL delivering for the U.K. economy." –Kate Gibbs, spokesperson for the United Kingdom’s Road Haulage Association

I came across a note the other day from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) that represents the trucking industry across in the pond in the United Kingdom (so-called because it’s comprised of England, Wales, Scotland … and Northern Ireland, though that last is a VERY debatable point!!!)

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One of their spokespersons, Kate Gibbs, referenced the impact the recent spate of heavy snowfalls over the past month on the U.K., with airline flights delayed (if not cancelled outright) and train operators are either running restricted services or cancelling them altogether.

But despite the gloom, doom and ice, she noted, most supermarket shelves in the U.K. remain stocked, factories kept working, and filling station reservoirs remained full of fuel for the everyday motorist. “For all intents and purposes, life goes on,” Gibbs said.

What made this possible? Very simple: The lorry drivers of the haulage industry. “Hauliers faced problems completing deliveries on time, many requiring additional resources (drivers and vehicles) to complete normal duties. And if this were not enough, many operators found that their customers closed until the weather improves,” Gibbs noted.

“Diversion costs due to road closures are also an issue while those who deliver to industrial sites face additional safety hazards of side roads which have not been gritted [a British euphemism for roads being 'plowed and sanded'] because of they do not rate sufficiently high on local authorities' list of priorities,” Gibbs pointed out.

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Yet the lorries got through – just as the trucks get through on our side of the pond, making their deliveries despite some of the worst winter weather we’ve experienced in my neck of the woods in years. We had a pre-Christmas blizzard that dumped 18 inches of snow on us, forcing schools to go on holiday three days earlier than planned, while irreparably snarling airline and train schedules.

Yet the trucks kept rolling. I witnessed one lonely driver for Giant Foods backtrack not once, not twice, but THREE times as he searched for a way into the snow-covered parking lot of our local store on Old Keene Mill here in Springfield – patiently navigating stalled cars, big berms of snow cleared by the plows, and more than a few impatient motorists out and about in 4-wheel drive.

He could have given up, of course, but the local populace needed the foodstuffs piled high in his trailer to get through the holiday week – so he stuck it out and made his delivery.

(And of course his load included a pallet or two of toilet paper, which flies off the shelves when a blizzard hits our area. I’ve always wondered why that is – I mean, are people going to the bathroom twice as much when it snows? What gives?)

Today, of course, Mother Nature gave us another dollop of the white stuff – a grand one inch – which forced school delays and closings, more snarled traffic, plus airline and train schedule demolition. Yet still the trucks roll, making their all important deliveries.

So thank you, truckers – like your brethren across the pond, when everyone else gives up due to the winter weather, you just keep chugging along. Stay safe out there.

What's Trucks at Work?

Trucks at Work: Sean Kilcarr comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry.

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