School leavers on fast track to logistics leadership

02 October 2019

Logistics operator Europa Worldwide has inducted the latest batch of school leavers onto its RAPID Career Development Programme.

Piloted last year, the programme has been designed for school leavers aged 18-21 as a fast-track route into management.

The initiative is the brainchild of Europa’s Managing Director Andrew Baxter who started work straight from school so is a passionate advocate of learning on the job.

It is designed to meet the needs of school leavers who have decided university is not the route for them as well as addressing the challenge of recruitment in the logistics sector.

Initially led by Sales Director, Dionne Redpath and Group Recruitment & Talent Manager, Vanita Dass-Puri, the search for the countries brightest and most passionate students interested in a career in logistics began in Spring 2019 and included visits to over 40 schools and events around the country, meeting over 700 interested students.

Sustainability on the agenda for Scania staff

02 October 2019

Scania has underlined its commitment to sustainability by staging a special event for every one of its 52,000 employees worldwide.

The brand’s global Sustainability Day saw all employees stop work for an hour to discuss sustainability and explore ways in which every employee can contribute to the company’s sustainability work going forward.

In the UK, Scania (Great Britain) Limited ran a series of workshops on a number of issues, followed by group discussions in which team members suggested and considered ways in which they could contribute to Scania’s sustainability work at a local level.

As a follow-up, all employee suggestions are now being evaluated and, wherever feasible, will be incorporated into the company’s UK sustainability action plan.

Martin Hay, Managing Director for Scania (Great Britain) Limited, said, “By briefing all our employees and inviting them to engage and share in our sustainability work by contributing their own suggestions for improvement, we are looking to realign our corporate culture into one which places sustainability at the forefront of everything we do.”

Ryder apprenticeship scheme turns 25

03 October 2019

Ryder, the independent provider of commercial vehicle rental, contract hire, and maintenance services, has celebrated the 25th anniversary of its National Apprentice Programme.

Launched in 1994, the scheme has since employed a total of 245 apprentice technicians across the company’s 21 UK service locations.

Each year it receives around 160 applications for its 10-12 apprenticeship vacancies nationwide.

Each apprentice undertakes the IMI Certificate in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance and Repair and assists qualified technicians in the preventative maintenance and repair of Ryder’s commercial vehicle fleet. They attend Stephenson College in Coalville, Leicestershire, on a block-release basis, with those who perform well having the opportunity to continue their training on Level 4 Diploma or Level 4 HNC courses.

Throughout their learning, they are assigned a one-to-one mentor for three years to coach and support their development.

Catherine Steel, Human Resources Director at Ryder, says: “I have a real soft spot for our Apprenticeship Programme. Back in 1994 when we started out, apprenticeships had a very poor image. The scheme was redeveloped in 2004 to become a professional National Trainee Programme to give our Technicians the best career start with Ryder. Then in 2012, we partnered with Stephenson College with a clear focus on continuous improvement and lifelong learning. Today, the Ryder Apprenticeship Programme is a professional, award-winning scheme that has transformed the careers of our young Technicians and the business as a whole.”

Travis Perkins and Ryder strike fleet deal

27 September 2019

Ryder has become the new vehicle leasing partner of Britain’s biggest builders’ merchant, Travis Perkins, after one of the company’s previous suppliers went into administration.

Ryder struck a deal to purchase a 600-plus fleet and then lease it back to Travis Perkins within just 96 hours to minimise delays and disruption.

The deal kept customer deliveries running smoothly across the company’s businesses, including Wickes, City Plumbing Supplies and Travis Perkins itself.

Travis Perkins’ Group Fleet Director, Graham Bellman, said, “It was a hugely challenging time for us – and for Ryder.

“Within 48 hours of being contacted, Ryder had prepared and delivered a commercial proposal for 620 rigid trucks, tractor units, and trailers. After 48 hours, all contracts had been signed, and more importantly, there was no disruption to our operational business.”

Project lead for Ryder, Finance Director Stephen King, said, “This was an extremely complex negotiation due to the involvement of multiple vehicle funders – Ryder had to deliver on its promises to buy these vehicles and execute the deal quickly and confidently to support the operational commitments of Travis Perkins.”

Pallet network launches driver recruitment website

25 September 2019

Pall-Ex has launched a new recruitment website exclusively for drivers in an attempt to help tackle HGV driver shortages across its network.

The move comes as members of the palletised distribution network experience difficulty in filling vacancies for class one and two HGV drivers.

Kevin Buchanan, Group managing director at Pall-Ex, said, “We wanted to find a resolution that would benefit Pall-Ex as a whole, particularly our members who are struggling to fill driving roles.”

He added, “Attracting the younger generation has become more challenging as they are unaware of the scope of jobs available and the opportunities for progression.

“Also, training to become a driver has a major cost associated with it. We fully support calls for improved access to training, apprenticeships and grants that can help young people start their careers in the industry.

“We want logistics to be a talking point in schools, so we can educate young people on the positives of not only driving but other roles in the industry.“

Stagecoach sets out South Yorkshire vision

25 September 2019

Stagecoach has called for greater partnership working between bus operators and local authorities in order to drive forward improvements to South Yorkshire’s bus network.

The move follows Mayor Dan Jarvis’ review of the region’s bus network aimed at identifying improvements that will benefit bus users.

Stagecoach’s response sets out its own vision for a joint approach to improve bus services in the region. It calls on operators, central government and local authorities to deliver investment and improvements needed to attract more bus passengers.

The proposals would see a further build on what has already been achieved by the Sheffield Bus Partnership to deliver more improvements for bus passengers across the region.

Since its introduction in 2012, the Sheffield Bus Partnership, which includes Stagecoach Yorkshire, has delivered millions of pounds of improvements with £40m joint operator investment in 194 new buses, £18m investment in bus infrastructure improving journey times, integrated smartcard ticketing, contactless payments and online payment and the cheapest multi-operator bus prices in the country. This has resulted in an increase of a million customer journeys and customer satisfaction rising to 87%.

Matt Davies, Managing Director for Stagecoach Yorkshire, said, “Bus operators, central government and local authorities all have a shared responsibility to deliver high quality bus services. There is now a real and urgent need to focus on practical measures that will improve journeys to stop the decline in bus journeys that we have seen as a result of societal changes and the rise in car usage.

“That’s why we’re calling for a partnership approach to enable us to tackle the major issues such as congestion. This will help to deliver faster and more reliable journeys as well as a range of other benefits including cleaner buses, simplified ticketing and better information in order to attract more people to bus.”

Amazon partners with Rivian to design own electric delivery van

25 September 2019

Amazon’s order for 100,000 fully-electric delivery vans is by far and away the biggest EV fleet deal in history.

But the mega-money contract is evidence of much more than another major operator giving electric mobility a massive vote of confidence.

Read between the lines and it also speaks volumes about how the emergence of new technology is changing the buying patterns of large fleets and logistics companies.

The entire logistics ecosystem is evolving, and the big players are now looking for end-to-end solutions that work seamlessly to maximise the speed and efficiency of their chains.

And this, coupled with the emergence of a new-breed of start-up, cutting-edge manufacturers, is enabling vehicle makers and end users to collaborate more than even before.

By working together from an early investment stage, they can develop vehicles from the wheels-up to ensure they tick every box and make the movement of goods quicker and quicker.

In Amazon’s case, that means a working partnership with the exciting American electric SUV maker Rivian. Together they aim to develop Amazon’s ideal delivery van, with 10,000 hitting the roads as early as 2022 and a further 90,000 added by 2030.

Amazon claims this will help cut four million metric tons of carbon emissions per year by 2030 by running on 100% renewably energy and meet the objectives set out in the Paris Climate Accord, namely to be net carbon zero by 2040 – a full decade ahead of schedule.

As the corporation’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, said: “We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue – we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference.

“If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon – which delivers more than 10 billion items a year – can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then anyone can.”

The ambitious statement comes following the global giant’s $700 million investment in Rivian back in February 2019. With eyes set on more seamless and efficient deliveries as well as the business potential of electric vehicles, this new deal, worth $440 million, will, according to Amazon, “accelerate the production of electric vehicles critical to reducing emissions from transportation”.

Another major player taking a similar approach is Deutsche Post DHL.

Earlier this year TNB reported how DHL and electric vehicle maker StreetScooter are collaborating on a new electric delivery vehicle.

The new H2 Panel Van will become, according to DHL, the first 4.25-tonne electric vehicle with an added fuel cell, which will provide additional power and enable a range up to 500 kilometres.

In a first step, DHL has ordered 100 of the fuel cell vehicles, with delivery expected from 2020 through 2021.

More recently, the logistics giant took delivery of its 10,000th StreetScooter model in Germany, after the other 9,999 clocked up a combined 100 million km – enough for 13 trips to the moon and back.

A DHL spokesperson said: “At Deutsche Post DHL we’re working towards Mission 2050 and as part of that have committed to operating 70% of our own first and last mile services with clean pick-up and delivery solutions such as electric vehicles.

“To support this, we’re working with our customers and vehicle manufacturers to increase the use of electric and hybrid trucks for both long and short-haul journeys within our operations.

“In particular, we are focussed on working in collaboration with manufacturers to produce bigger electric vehicle solutions where the technology is more challenging.”

“Running vehicles that have been created with the specific requirements of a business in mind can bring significant operational benefits. So, as companies sharpen their focus on environmental commitments, it’s likely we’ll see more examples of businesses working closely with manufacturers to create bespoke vehicles that fit their needs.”

Ambulance service adds a dozen Ducatos

25 September 2019

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has strengthened its fleet with the addition of 12 ambulances based on the Fiat Ducato.

The vehicles have already entered service in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Waveney.

Another 43 Ducato-based ambulances will be rolled out across the region in the coming months, with another 171 joining the fleet by next April.

EEAST has invested around £21m in the 226 vehicles, which have been developed following extensive consultation with staff, patients, carers’ groups and trade unions.

The ambulances have been designed to make transfers smoother and more comfortable for patients, who will be positioned in the centre of the vehicle rather to one side, in turn allowing family members to sit with them or specialist medics to work around them.

The trust is also installing automatic self-loading stretchers as standard so staff no longer need to push patients up a ramp or onto a tail lift to access the vehicle, reducing the chances of musculoskeletal problems while also improving the patient experience.

Paul Henry, Deputy Director of Operations Support, said: “We listened carefully to the views of our staff to ensure the vehicle will meet their needs, keep them comfortable during a shift and allow them to deliver even better care.

“We’ve also liaised closely with patients, carers and other stakeholders to ensure the design gives them the best possible experience by making their journey as smooth as possible.”

The final design for the ambulance was chosen after staff were given the chance to test four prototype vehicles in a real working environment before feeding back their views.”

Van Hool to premiere three models at Busworld Europe

25 September 2019

Van Hool will give no fewer than three new vehicles their global premieres at Busworld Europe next month.

The independent manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles will use the event to showcase its latest innovations.

The trio of debutants will include the latest EX11 – the fourth model in its EX range – the firm’s fuel cell-powered Equi City bus and a new all-electric coach, the CX45E, for the US market.

Van Hool has already supplied fuel cell buses to German cities Cologna and Wuppertal, and recently fulfilled an order for Dutch provinces Groningen and Drente, scheduled to go into operation in December 2020.

Ford launches new small business smartphone app

26 September 2019

Ford has launched a new connected vehicle smartphone app to help small business customers maximise efficiency, security and productivity.

FordPass Pro is a dedicated new app for those who rely on their vehicles for their work, enabling them to manage up to five Ford vehicles from a single screen.

The FordPass Pro app provides the tools businesses need to manage up to five vehicles on a single device.

Features include a vehicle locator, remote locking and unlocking, alarm notifications and remote start.

“Time is precious for small business owners, which is why we focus on delivering simple technology solutions that we know will make a big difference,” said Richard Bunn, FordPass director, Ford Mobility Europe. “The new FordPass Pro app will help our customers spend less time managing their vehicles and more time making their business a success.”