Knowledge gap scuppers application hopes

A traffic commissioner has refused an application for an international O-licence after finding that the proposed transport manager lacked experience and knowledge.

Expert Trans wanted to run five HGVs and five trailers out of a depot in Purfleet and it was called to a Cambridge public inquiry in order to satisfy the TC that the statutory criteria could be met. Documentation submitted to the office for the traffic commissioner prior to the hearing showed that in order to demonstrate financial standing, there had been large deposits made into its bank account. Director Olimpia Cojocariu said two of these deposits were from a family friend, Constantin-Silviu Malincini and his mother.

Malincini had an O-licence revoked after failing to provide financial standing for his business, Express Service, which had traded out of the same premises in Purfleet as Expert Trans. Cojocariu said Malincini would have no involvement in the directorship or day-to-day running of the company, although he may be given a job as a driver if the application was granted. But due to Eastern region TC Richard Turfitt’s concerns, Cojocariu told him at the PI that the loan had now been repaid and Malincini would have no involvement.

However, Turfitt also said he was unclear how the operator would have satisfactory arrangements for maintaining vehicles, given that the proposed transport manager, Ana-Maria Cojocariu was unable to explain the maintenance arrangements and the PMI intervals.

In a written decision, the TC said: “She was unable to produce a sample of the proposed PMI form to show that she had checked that current standards would apply.  She referred to the potential for use of a decelerometer to test brake performance and to utilise a rolling road brake tester four times per year. This was based on advice from the contractor and she appeared unaware of the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness. The applicant director and the CPC holder were unable to tell me what the policy would be around a wheel-off and retorque procedures.”

He added: “The question is not one of qualification but whether the nominated CPC holder is sufficiently focused on the responsibilities as transport manager and can confidently show the ability to exercise continuous and effective management of the operation. I regret that this was not the case with Ms Cojocariu.”

Facelifts and more EVs coming from Renault

Renault boss Bruno Blin has more than hinted that significant revisions to T, C and K-Range models are imminent. During the annual Renault Trucks online business report, he stated that the changes would address productivity, comfort and drivability. While not quoting any firm start-of-production date, he did confirm that updated models would be on sale during the second half of 2021.

The first opportunity to evaluate the changes will come from 6 April, when realistic simulations will feature in the latest version of the Euro Truck Simulator 2 video game.

The Renault Trucks president also confirmed his commitment to producing 100% fossil-free vehicles by 2040. His prediction is for a constant decline in the share of internal combustion engines to a level that can only be guessed at, but fuelled by bio-fuels and hydrogen. The remainder will be split between battery and fuel cell electric.

Along the way, electric vehicles are predicted to account for 10% of sales by 2025, and 35% by 2030. More immediate milestones will be an extension to medium-duty EV range this year, construction and long-haul offerings in 2023, and hydrogen trucks in the second half of this decade.

Asked about how Renault will respond to new competitors from outside the existing OEMs, Blin explained that Renault’s long history of building trucks, its knowledge of the market and its comprehensive support network would be major assets.