Widespread failings see operator’s licence cut

HMRC

A Lincs-based operator that hauls trailers on behalf of Fowler Welch, Gist and FreshLinc has had its licence cut to seven vehicles after failing to demonstrate compliance in respect of third-party operations.

Enero Logistics held a licence authorising 20 HGVs, but it appeared before senior traffic commissioner (TC) Richard Turfitt at a Cambridge public inquiry (PI) after not informing his office that a new director had been appointed.

A ‘dip sample’ of the haulier’s maintenance records uncovered a range of failings, including insufficient loads on axles during roller-brake testing; no secondary brake readings; and no printouts.

The TC said there also did not appear to be a single instance of a driver reporting a defect.

In his written decision, Turfitt said relatively new transport manager Krzystzof Wajrak had acknowledged inheriting policies and processes that were in a mess.

“It emerged during evidence that the operator is involved in hauling trailers on behalf of FreshLinc, Fowler Welch and Gist,” he said.

“I could take some reassurance from the fact that those customers also hold operators licences and should be aware of the need to maintain the trailers. However, the operator had no means of demonstrating compliance in respect of its third-party trailer operations.

“Indeed, [director Leszek Lembicz] appeared to be unaware of any responsibility despite the requirements on this operator’s licence. Mr Wajrak had not yet understood the operations. As a result, neither were meeting their legal obligations.”

The TC also drew attention to Enero Logistics’ reliance on drivers operating as limited companies; a practice that was – up until the mini-Budget last month – unlawful and so the operator had given a formal undertaking to make all permanent drivers employees.

Turfitt said: “In the circumstances of this case, it is sufficient for me to record that preventative maintenance inspection intervals have been exceeded, that the driver defect reporting system is not functioning as it should, the operator does not have the full maintenance records required, and that it cannot be said to be operating in a fit and roadworthy condition.”

The licence was curtailed.

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