Scaffolding firm’s fitness “seriously tarnished”

A restricted haulage firm whose fitness to operate was described by a traffic commissioner as having been “undoubtedly and seriously tarnished” has had its licence cut by two vehicles, leaving just one to operate.

SJ Scaffolding, with an operating centre in Billericay, Essex, appeared before the Eastern region TC Richard Turfitt after a maintenance investigation revealed substantial numbers of prohibitions and fixed penalty notices; a failure to notify a change in maintenance provider and material changes relating to fitness and finance. The investigation followed a previous unsatisfactory maintenance investigation in 2018.

The vehicle examiner who compiled the report requested a written explanation from company director Shaun Collins, but was not satisfied with the response, with Collins emphasising his experience in the industry and arguing that the identified defects were not as severe as stated. Subsequent attempts to call and email the director were not successful. In a written decision, the TC said documents showed driver defect reports were all marked “nil”, despite PMIs identifying driver detectable defects. A fleet check of one HGV found that the nearside outer wall tyre had damage and cords exposed and inspection sheets did not contain a signature confirming roadworthiness.

Summing up, the TC said the evidence showed there had been “persistent offending with a substantial number of prohibitions…resulting from ineffective management control and insufficient or no systems and procedures in place to prevent operator licence compliance failings.” He questioned how likely it was that the operator would comply with the O-licence regime and added: “There must be some doubt as to that ability although the undertakings offer some hope. The failure to deliver the audit as per the undertaking at grant seriously undermines the weight which I can attach to these undertakings. Fitness is undoubtedly and seriously tarnished,” he said.

“There is a clear need for deterrent action so that this operator and other operators are left in no doubt that this level of shortcoming will not be tolerated and that there can be no repeat. I have taken account of the impact on the business and the licence will be curtailed by two vehicles to allow one vehicle only, with immediate effect.”

Consortium Purchasing, which includes Eddie Stobart and AW Jenkinson, has placed an order for 2,250 new Scanias

Scania (Great Britain) has won an order for at least 2,250 trucks from Consortium Purchasing, an operation led by William Stobart, executive chairman of Greenwhitestar Acquisitions (which owns Eddie Stobart, The Pallet Network and iForce), and Allan Jenkinson (owner of A W Jenkinson Forest Products). It represents the Swedish truck maker’s largest ever European order for civilian trucks.

The trucks, a mix of P-, G-, R- and S-series tractors and rigids, and for the first time an unspecified number of multi-wheelers, will be supplied by Scania dealers Haydock Commercial Vehicles and Graham Commercials over the coming two years. They will be supplied on full R&M contracts, with all work carried out within the UK Scania service network, and will remain in service for up to three years.

More than 1,000 are destined for Eddie Stobart, with the remainder split between AW Jenkinson Forest Products and third member of the consortium WS Transportation. 

This is the sixth time the consortium has placed a major order with Scania. The last time was 2018, when it purchased 2,100 units.

"We are absolutely delighted to have placed this order with Scania, especially in such challenging and uncertain times," says William Stobart.  "Scania's latest generation of vehicles – which we have now operated for three years – are continuing the long tradition of excellent service, reliability and good fuel performance we have come to expect from the brand.  This, along with the consistently high levels of service we receive from the Scania network, is why we have chosen Scania to fulfil a large part of our truck requirements."

Scania (GB)’s UK sales director Vincente Connolly, adds: "We are immensely proud to be reporting such positive news at this time.  During our negotiations, both William and Allan were extremely complimentary about the special relationship which exists between our organisations, and has done so for many years.  We now look forward to fulfilling the order and working with the teams within the consortium to deliver the best possible service and total cost of operation for each and every vehicle in this agreement."