Scaffolding firm toppled by ineffective management

The traffic commissioner for Wales has revoked the licence of an operator that demonstrated a raft of failings and after concluding it was “extremely unlikely” it would comply in the future.

Glamorgan-based Creo Scaffolding appeared before TC Victoria Davies after evidence emerged on social media that suggested it was operating three HGVs, none of which were specified on the restricted licence. Sole director Gareth Williams failed to provide documents and maintenance records ahead of the hearing and he told the TC that he didn’t think they would be required.

Williams said he had employed a transport manager during 2020 and he expected the person to be responsible for updating the vehicle operator licensing system and dealing with correspondence. However, when it became apparent this wasn’t happening he had dismissed the individual. Williams also claimed he had thought his licence allowed him to operate three lorries, not one, and it was only recently he had checked and discovered no vehicles were specified on the licence.

The TC said the director demonstrated a lack of knowledge about the operator licensing requirements, but she adjourned the PI and allowed him 14 days to provide all the evidence he had assured her he had access to. Williams failed to do this for a second time and following the rescheduled PI, Davies decided to revoke the licence.

In her written decision, the TC said she asked Williams’ solicitor why the operator had not done any of the undertakings he said he would do to demonstrate compliance. “[His] response was that the penny hadn’t dropped, like a number of operators for whom transport is incidental to their business,” she said. “I was asked to accept that, as at the date of the hearing, this was a changed operator.”

The TC said there was very little to put on the positive side: “The operator’s failure to engage with the DVSA following grant of the licence or to familiarise itself with the requirements of the operator licensing regime has meant that the level of knowledge to meet basic requirements of its operator’s licence, even at the date of the inquiry, is sadly absent,” she said. “At its most positive, the starting point for intervention places the case in the serious, if not severe, category.”

Mercedes and bp combine to create fuel payment app for Actros

Wren Kitchens, bp and Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK have successfully trialled a new digital fuel payment system designed to speed up transactions and their accuracy.

The pilot scheme uses a new app in the Acrtos’ Truck App Portal to relay purchasing information, mileage and other important data back to base through the In-Truck Pay app, removing the need for drivers to enter mileages themselves.

All the driver has to do is confirm the site, unlock the pump and refuel with the transaction logged and paid for by the app. This means there’s no need for fuel cards and greater transaction security.

In a survey launched at the time of the Truck App Portal announcement, customers said that “solutions that address refuelling issues” would be their top request.

The pilot with Wren Kitchens saw the bp In-Truck Pay app used with 11 vehicles from its fleet.

Lee Thompson-Halls, national fleet manager for Wren Kitchens, said: “We strive to always be ahead of the game, and trialling innovative initiatives like this means we can potentially drive progress within our business, and, ultimately, the logistics sector as a whole.”

He added: “The trials have shown an increase in efficiency, with savings of approximately five minutes per transaction. When you add that up over time, it will have a hugely positive impact on our business, which delivers over 100,000 kitchens per year across the UK. Not only that, but it will also be beneficial for our drivers, by creating a safer and quicker way to pay for fuel.”

Following ‘proof of concept’ testing by bp and Mercedes-Benz Trucks in autumn 2020, Wren Kitchens embraced the opportunity to pilot the new app using the system on six tractor units used to distribute quartz worktops from its headquarters in Barton-upon-Humber, and five 18-tonners based at a depot in Tipton in the West Midlands, that deliver kitchens to customers’ homes.

Thompson-Halls commented: “Going card-less has saved us so much time and trouble, not only at the fuel station but also on the admin side. It has ensured that we’re working with clear, accurate data, and is also where we need to be from a security perspective. Our team of drivers do a challenging job, so anything we can do to make their lives easier and less stressful has to be a good thing, not least because it will help to make them that bit safer at the wheel.”