It were tough, but its going to get a lot tougher for truckers

During my days as a market researcher I spent long periods driving up and down the motorways of Britain. The mind tends to wander. I became a lorry spotter. Not only that I was a member of the Eddie Stobart fan club.

You see, in my world Eddie had an entire back story, made up by me on those long journeys.

..It is winter, 1962. A Foden has broken down on Shap summit and Eddie Stobart's number one driver, well, his only driver apart from Eddie himself, was struggling because he had sprained a wrist while trying to undo a frozen bi-furked knoll nut. Normally this would not have worried Teddy, Eddie's number one driver, but Teddy had dysentery that day and a bad cold and his mum had just died and well, he was a bit arrad. He goes to a telephone box and phones his boss for help. Eddie is having Christmas dinner that day, but forgoes the pudding and turns out.

Eddie gets into the cab of his ex army ERF recovery truck. It is freezing in the cab and visibility is down to a few yards due to the blizzard conditions.
When Eddie arrives, Teddy is outside in the blizzard checking the tyres.

"Eh oop, our lad!"

"Torp ring's gone ont crankshaft"

Eddie ponders the situation for a moment.

"You say torp ring's gone ont camshaft?"

"Torp ring's gone ont camshaft"

"Then ther's nowt for it but a tow"

Eddie produces a chain and links the two lorries together. The men do not say much else. quietly and with determination Eddie tows Teddy, stopping to let him have a crap by the side of the road and a swig of tea. The load got through in the end. The two lads find a cafe and have a mug of tea and a bacon sandwich and begin the five hour journey back home.

Things were tough in them days. Eddie built the business wi' 'is bare 'ands. And you 'ad to wear a tie and be polite to other road users. The night little Edward was born to Eddie and his wife, he went to his shed and had a think and decided that his new lorry was going to bear the name of is firstborn. With a tear in his eye, and after mekking sure the bairn and 'is mum was alright, Eddie Stobart sat down to do his books. That month he had made a profit Twenty Six pounds, four and a penny. A fortune. He used to dream of such a fortune. Pity the cost of diesel. Some were talking of a four bob gallon.

Wincanton has warned the government that this week' increase in fuel duty could "obliterate" some of the UK's smaller hauliers, part of its subcontractor base, unless it reconsiders its actions.
Nick Graham, Wincanton's director of transport UK and Ireland, says: "Large logistics companies like us are able to plan for these fuel duty rises, but this latest hefty leap could obliterate some of the smaller, more local operators."
His comments come after fuel duty increased by 0.76ppl this week, while VAT has risen by 2.5%, and ahead of a 1ppl fuel duty rise in April.
"For many of these smaller hauliers, with which we sometimes partner, profit margins are generally well below 5% of revenue, and it has been estimated that fuel costs now contribute to around 35% of their running costs. A growing economy needs a reliable haulage industry and the impact of such drastic fiscal measures should be reconsidered," Graham adds.
Paul Headley, MD at Beeford, East Yorks-based Paul Headley Transport, which runs a 12-strong HGV fleet, adds: "Fuel rises are crippling the industry, and will lead to the demise of many a company this year."

All the personal taciturn heroism in the world is not going to save our transport industry.


Twig said...

They'll go the way of the fishing fleet unless the british get a backbone and tell the EU where to go.

RMcGeddon said...

The upcoming truckers and petrol tanker drivers strike will put a spanner in the coagulations spokes. Rapid re introduction of the promised 'oil stabiliser' methinks.

Hopefully Hector Brocklebank of Fraserburgh will stay in business. His trucker tales are legendary..

strapworld said...

WW. I read the eddie Stobart book as well. Incredible story of a very small one lorry concern building into the massive organisation it is today. Just by saying 'I will do it' to any request.

A lesson in one to our modern work shy generation. Eddie Stobart has proved that hard work and det=ermination, against the odds, does and will pay off.

Dave said...

er, I thought Eddie's first truck was called Twiggy?

Nice story though.