Licence application refused following string of revocations
An operator that suffered a bankruptcy and two liquidations, each time leaving a trail of unpaid creditors in its wake, has had its latest licence application refused.
West Midlands TC Nick Denton said applicant BW (Stoke) was not of good repute and it had been operating five or six HGVs without authority for at least a year. Director Lewis Weller had previously held licences for B&W Transport, B&W Storage and Freightpro, all of which have had their licence revoked.
The TC said he was not convinced that if he granted a licence for BW (Stoke) the outcome would be any different and they had all “essentially been the same family business, with a high degree of continuity of vehicles, drivers, operating centres etc.”
In a written decision following a virtual hearing, TC Denton said: “Mr Weller initially attempted, during the inquiry, to give me the impression that the operation of a vehicle on 6 February 2020 had been a one-off instance, caused by the necessity of fulfilling a contract, but did subsequently accept that the company had operated since Freightpro Ltd had gone into liquidation. Whilst I can appreciate the desirability of keeping drivers in jobs and vehicles gainfully employed, the company has to act within the law. It cannot simply wish away the rules relating to operator licences to suit its own commercial convenience.”
21-day suspension after serious offences
A lack of diligence, and confusion over who was undertaking the transport manager role at a Sussex haulage firm led to serious drivers’ hours offences being committed.
An Eastbourne public inquiry heard how an investigation into Kumari Transport raised concerns that the company was not conducting any downloading or analysis of driver cards or vehicle unit data. One driver, Kundan Shakya had committed 75 offences including 35 occasions when he had used digi tach cards belonging to other drivers.
Director Juni Shakya - Kundan’s wife - told deputy traffic commissioner John Baker that she had been new to the transport business, but as soon as she realised what was going wrong she had begun to get things straight. She said the problems lay with her husband, who she had trusted, and also confusion over who was taking responsibility for transport manager duties.
In his decision, DTC Baker said Kundan’s offences were at the most serious end of the drivers’ hours offences and that the neglect by the operator of who was checking and managing the system was “a significant and serious failing.”
However, he said that changes now made at the company gave a much more positive picture of compliance and that he could trust the operator going forwards. But he also said past failings couldn’t be ignored and the repute had been severely tarnished.
As a result, he suspended the licence for 21 consecutive days, but approved the appointment of a new transport manager, Abkash Shrestha.