As of 27/03/2020
We are now towards end of another week, this is what we are seeing:
- The Demand is reducing
- We hopefully will have cleared backlog over the weekend
- Now we have to try and forecast what next week will be like
- We have to reflect the new reality into the new level of resource
- All we can do is look 1 week ahead
On some of our parts customers we are reducing frequency on a pre-agreed basis, Imbalance remains the biggest challenge.
The haulage industry needs support but so do the ferry companies, they are probably in an even worse predicament than hauliers as their costs for freight are mostly fixed.
We all remain working crazy hours, we’re trying to maximise service and expectations, whilst trying to be fair to our workforce.
Drivers are of course at the front end of all activity and they are increasingly finding it difficult to find places to eat whist out on the road.
Our Managing Director, Alan Miles has tried to get help from customers with only limited success.
We have written to our customers today with a view to limiting people touching paperwork/pods ideally we want to stop the process but for time being drivers will sign own paperwork.
After much searching we finally manged to get some hand sanitiser, we’ve also had many wonderful supporting e mails from our customers.
One or two customers not so happy . I accept communication can always be better but our staff have had to take a fair amount of abuse but otherwise have remained very calm in difficult situations.
We now think demand may have peaked due to combination of people having stocked up, more rationing has been put into place. We’re experiencing trying to book in loads, however there is no stock available.
Today has been probably the day with biggest changes, we’ve had quite a number of loads ex Ireland that were unable to deliver due to the delivery points closing.
Also some of our parts delivery points have closed.
Our biggest challenge remains the economics of trying to operate in a fast changing world where imbalance in flows are intensifying meaning previous work that was economic no longer is. We are now actively planning for likely reduced consignments on our parts business.
We are still operating normally with relatively small amount of people off work
We have had to apply some surcharges on our work to Ireland, this is due to the growing imbalance ex Ireland.
All of the impacted customers have been contacted, we have updated all major customers on the risks and challenges for the week ahead.
Where any changes/restrictions have been put in place, each individual customer has been contacted.
An issue that we need help with from our customers, is feeding our tramping drivers as cafes and service stations restrict sale of meals.
Weekend period is really important
We have given an update to all our staff, we’ve also analysed the success and challenges that we had last week.
We are also looking ahead to see what we can do to improve the turn round of trailers.
Key questions for week ahead:
- How many more back load points will close this week?
- Will the channel tunnel have many delays for our inbound trailers?
- What parts of business will decline for example our truck and bus delivery business will be adversely impacted given factory closures in France, Sweden and Belgium
Whereas, the part of business serving the supermarkets and chemists, we expect even more demand this week.
Keep safe everyone.
Same as yesterday, there has been no change to our available resources, we remain fully operational in all sectors of our business.
It is important for all of our customers to understand what the restraining factors to capacity are. The major restricting factor is imbalances significantly increasing, the Irish market is seeing high demand into Ireland but lower demand ex Ireland.
This means to service the additional work to Ireland, we’re shipping back to the UK empty, the same is applying to traffic demand to Scotland, very high with lower demand ex Scotland.
Our main operational issues are:
- Delays at the French side of the Euro-tunnel, meaning inbound trucks are getting delayed
- Continuing difficulty getting collection an delivery slots that tie up fast
- Delays at delivery points are causing late collections
- Ensuring trailer turnaround is kept at an acceptable level
There has been no change of any significance to either drivers being off and staff being off, we continue being fully operational.
Speaking to our Managing Director Alan Miles, he explains how we are adapting to the new challenges:
- Many of us are working 16 hour days
- Communication is vital as demand is higher than supply
- Almost half the day is taken up on conference calls
We have to react to events, for an example this morning, one of our normal parts vans that runs to collect in Belgium was denied access to the channel tunnel by French authorities, this then took 2hrs of dialogue to sort.
Managing expectations continues to be very important.
We are not seeing any increased driver sickness, the staff situation has stabilised as well.
The business demand remains at 70 percent up.
At the moment, we remain in a backlog situation for trailers to Ireland.
The only changes we are seeing are:
- Additional delays at tipping points
- Inbound trailers from Europe have been delayed
There are some driver hours regulation changes for the short term, we are currently briefing our drivers accordingly
We continue to operate from all of our sites, the demand remains extremely high.
We are now having to put capacity restraints in place, such as accepting orders.
This is due to high demand, not due to any significant shortage of resource. Today we have 4 drivers off which is just over 1 percent.
7 office staff are also off which is a higher percentage compared to the drivers.
No-one has been confirmed with the coronavirus but we are all taking precautionary measures
Our major limiting factors we have is trailer availability. We can ship and deliver customers trailers for ferries if ferry compliant.
It will come as no surprise to tell you that in all parts of our business demand is up, as of recently the sectors that have had the biggest increase are:
- Deliveries to Ireland
- Deliveries to Scotland
- Supermarket Associated Work
We’ve seen an increase of the demand up to 60% – We have shared our contingency plans with all of our major customers, but this will change with any events that happen.
Some of the important measures that we are now introducing:
- Groupage from March 23rd we will not be delivering to everywhere everyday, instead we will be operating to geographic deliveries on set days
- Nowhere will have less than 2 deliveries a week and nowhere more than 4
- From March 30th we may set minimum delivery criteria, one of the concerns we have is there may be diverted parcels work from some of our customers should any parcel network fail
- Strict policy on payment terms it is essential cashflow is maintained
- On full loads, we will have to restrict what we do and are in dialogue with customers accordingly
- To maximise trailer availability for next week we have suspended putting anything other than legal necessity trailers in for MOT
- Some key staff are working from home
Should anyone wish to discuss any of this, our Managing Director Alan Miles is available.
We will be giving regular updates from today on-wards.