Volvo Financial Services (VFS) is awaiting a decision on its application to have a vehicle, which had been impounded for cabotage breaches, returned to it.
The truck, which was being operated by Dutch firm Farm Trans, was impounded on 10 April for cabotage infringements. VFS, which owns the vehicle, claimed it was unaware it was being operated illegally in the UK.
North East traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney returned a vehicle, also operated by Farm Trans, to VFS in a similar case in July 2015. In that case it was said that there had been 94 occasions when vehicles operated by Farm Trans had been encountered by DVSA in the previous five years, leading to 10 prohibitions for cabotage infringements.
In the latest hearing in front of North West TC Simon Evans, Elwyn Arens, VFS sales manager for the Netherlands, said Farm Trans had leased 27 vehicles from the company. The operator had 10 Dutch vehicles travelling to the UK each week, carrying out approximately 1,500 cabotage journeys a year.
Following the incident in 2015, Arens had met the Farm Trans management to discuss how they monitored cabotage operations. Arens said that Farm Trans had taken steps to avoid further problems, substantially changing its way of working.
Arens said that Farm Trans was aware that it was on the watchlist when its vehicles entered the UK. He was unaware of any other cabotage infringements by Farm Trans since 2015.
Arens did not think VFS could have done anything more to prevent the most recent infringement.
Evans said Farm Trans’ offence had been more severe this time. In the 2015 case the vehicle had completed five cabotage journeys, while on this occasion this was the fourth cabotage journey and the vehicle had been in the UK for more than seven days.
In addition, the vehicle did not have the required paperwork for an international journey. “It was a triple whammy,” Evans told the hearing. “It is difficult to describe [Farm Trans] as highly professional.”
Evans will make his decision on whether to release the vehicle at a later date.