Repute tarnished for running haulage firm via Skype
A Kent haulage boss who attempted to manage transport operations from Canada using video-call service Skype has had his repute severely tarnished.
In a decision following a public inquiry in September in Eastbourne, South East traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton (pictured) was told how Graham Wilson was sole director and nominated transport manager of Gillingham-based GTW Transport when Vosa carried out a maintenance investigation in October 2012.
A vehicle examiner found that Wilson was not available during the visit and had been absent from the company for several months. Wilson was 4,000 miles away in Saskatchewan, Canada, at the time because of a personal matter and had delegated his duties to an employee, while still being available via Skype.
The examiner found failures in the company’s maintenance procedures, including missing maintenance records and a change in maintenance contractor that had not been notified.
Driver defect reporting wasn’t fit for purpose, with too many driver-detectable defects only being picked up at the next safety inspection, often several weeks later. Also, tachograph analysis and vehicle unit downloading had been running too far behind schedule.
Denton, who ordered a two-day suspension of the firm’s four vehicle and eight trailer O-licence on 7 and 8 September, said: “CPC holders have to exercise continuous and effective management of the transport operation. As this case shows, this isn’t possible without some physical interaction.
“Transport managers need to confirm the preventive maintenance inspection paperwork is as it should be, or to check and identify any issues from an analysis of drivers’ tachographs. You can’t do this via Skype from Saskatchewan.” The TC also approved the appointment of a new transport manager to replace Wilson.