Distribution looks healthy

The FTA says there has been a recovery in demand for distribution services in the UK.

More operators are looking to expand their fleets as a result of increasing market optimism, the association's latest quarterly transport activity survey concludes.

It reveals that the second half of 2006 saw an increase in demand for domestic, third-party and international road freight services following sustained market weakness in 2005 and early 2006.

But operators continue to report deteriorating journey times - 58% of the survey's respondents say road network reliability is worse than it was a year ago.

Only 4% of respondents intend to actively recruit from Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU on 1 January.


MAN-Scania. No More. Official.

MAN is to ask Swedish regulators for permission to withdraw its takeover offer for Scania.The German OEM is quoted as saying that it is clear that the conditions of the offer will not be met by Jan 31st when the offer is due to close.It said that discussions between VW, Investor AB and MAN have shown that there is 'an industrial logic' behind a combination of MAN, Scania and Volkswagen Heavy Trucks. This could not be achieved by way of the current offer given that both VW and Investor have rejected it.This is rather a good example of how not to do things. Minutes before the official press release was made public, Forbes reported that Munich appeared to be in a state of abject denial.Scania is obviously not displeased by this. Not only has it seen off an unwelcome bid, but it has also made one of its key competitors look rather foolish. Its response has an air of smugness to it, but it will be interesting to see quite what happens to its stock price when the markets absorb the news. None of this comes as any real surprise. Granted, there is still talk of a 'friendly' deal, but, to our way of thinking, there is enough bad blood between the protagonists to preclude this. So how long before MAN turns its attentions to Navistar? And now might also be a good moment to ponder just how unwavering Fiat’s support is for Iveco, especially in the light of this report detailing the Italian carmaker's changes to its corporate structure.