Support Small Hauliers and Clearing Houses
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WITHOUT reserve, I would like to support the vv.remarks made by Mr. L. C. Andrews in his letter concerning the efforts made to bring about the downfall of the -clearing hduses and the small haulier which was published by you in your issue for January 28. Mr. Andrews, I think, will agree that it 'is those people who have been able to build up their businesses to their present extent with the aid of both the small haulier .and the clearing house, who are the instigators.. Having been attached to clearing houses for some considerable time I, like Mr. Andrews, can readily appreciate the very significant part which this section of the industry has played both before and during the present emergency. For confirmation of this statement, reference should be made to the many traders and manufaCturers, who, particularly, in the early days of the war, looked to the clearing house as their means' for 'salvation in their efforts to effect prompt delivery of their loads, which, -in the main, were of Government origin, and which were used in the construction of aerodromes and factories. How were the clearing-house efforts •accomplished? In the main with the assistance of the small haulier, who, particularly at that time, was always there to meet the occasion, and being free from " red tape," was able to fulfil the senders' requirements to the letter._ Apart from the small., hankers, did not the large organizations find the clearing houses very useful tools in the early stages of the war? To meet the emergency. a large number of thein• was -obliged to depart from the usual trunk roads and., in many cases, their vehicles arrived at destinations where thesebig hatiliers bail connections, .,The result was that their drivers 'were instructed to report to such and such a -clearing house for return loads. which were invariably secured, in the majority of cases within a few miles of the. bases. If the driver's had not been in a position to find clearing houses a great many miles. might have been incurred in light running, to say nothing of the arndunt of time which would have been wasted, or even the loss which might have been shown against a particular journey.Of course, we do not expect that those people who are endeavouring to " engineer" the removal of either the small haulier or ttn clearing house, like to be reminded of these facts, but they must be, and they must not be permitted to plan their futures at the expense of the backbone of the industry.
The irony of the situation is the fact that such anomalies are permitted in respect of this section of the industry, and although appeals and representations be made the situation remains unaltered. Where is the democracy with which, we are told, this country is blessed? The latest blow to the clearing house is obviously intended to be the mortal one. By the latest blow, I am, of course, referring to the recent Ministry instruction, that although traffic may • be accepted by Unit Controllers from a clearing house, the invoice for. transport must be served direct on the actual sender.The reason for the decision is not given, obviously because, to he frank, the M.O.W.T. would have to admit,
that the clearing house to its mind is now redundant, or it intends to make it so. This, however, must never happen, and the general community must be made to realize that both the small haulier and the clearing house are very prominent factors in the post-war rebuilding and development plans.
The solution is contained in Mr. L. C. Andrews's statement, wherein he suggests that the public Press should give voice to the fact that two major components of the transport industry are hanging in the balance, and should the scale be turned in favour of powerful coinpetttors, the future road transport industry will suffer as a result.
Let, therefore, those people who are likely to be affected by this—I refer to the manufacturer and the trader who have experienced the efficiency of the clearing house—voice as one tlieir protests, and so bring about a result beneficial to their post-war activities. Also let them remember that the railways fought for a monopoly some time ago. What was the result? What will be the result if a certain few powerful haulage organizations secure the monopoly? They would learn, much to
their regret. G. L. BOTTOMLEY, .
Ramsgreave. Transport Manager.