Co-operative Road Carrying—A Suggestion.
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
Increased Railway Charges Suggest Alternative Road-carrying Developments in Districts where Owners of Commercial Motors Have Reciprocal Interests.
Ey 'Liverpudlian.'' in view of the recently-announced increases in rail. way charges for the handling and storage of goods, and the rumours that are current as to future increases in freights all round, the attention of a growing number of manufacturers will be turned towards the possibilities of road transit. Although certain classes of goods, from their very nature, will continue to be dealt with by rail, still, in a very large number of eases, where goods are at present consigned by rail, motor transport might be advantageously adopted. In. the large manufacturing towns of the north, and more especially in Liverpool and Manchester, very great inconvenience and loss are caused by the congestion at railways and docks, so that any schemes which will tend to lessen this evil should be heartily welcomed by the commercial community at large.
At the present time, there are, in Lancashire alone, a considerable number of concerns operating heavy motor vehicles for the conveyance of general goods from town to town, and this number is likely to be greatly augmented in the future. At the same time, the number of manufacturing concerns which own heavy motors for dealing with their own raw materials and manufactures is rapidly advancing, and it is to this latter class that my suggestion is offered.
To-day, should a manufacturer desire to transport goods from one district to another by motor, his vehicle has frequently to make the journey in one direction empty, which is not only detrimental to the machine itself, but in many cases reduces the saving over rail transport to such an extent as to render the work unprofitable. Where expedition is an important factor, or. where frequent handling is detrimental, the balance may be sufficiently in favour of road transport to render it worth while, but there are undoubtedly cases where the manufacturer is debarred from sending his goods by road owing to want of a back load. In order to get over this difficulty, associations alight be farmed in those counties in which there are large numbers of manufacturers owning their own commercial motor vehicles. Depots might be formed in each manufacturing centre, and these being in telephonic communication it would be possible for a manufacturer having goods to send from one town to another to arrange for a back load. Itwould frequently happen, of course, that a vehicle could not be spared to undertake the outward journey, and on these occasions the goods would be carried as a back load by a wagon coining from the locality to which the go-oils were consigned. 'Working must. be reciprocal.
The depots, which would be under the charge of men well versed in traffic conditions and peculiarities of the particular districts, would be provided with warehouse accommodation planned to facilitate the handling of goods, a garage with small fitting-shop where any necessary repairs might be carried out, and a store where fuel could be purchased. Sleeping quarters might be provided on the premises, or close by, for the use of drivers who were unable to return to their own homes. These depots would be in constant communication with the members in their locality, in order to arrange loads and to book times for deliveries, whilst in seaport towns a warehouseman might be retained to superintend the receipt or dispatch of members' goods at amoderate charge. Small consignments for conveyance to a particular locality could be delivered at the depot., where they would be joined to other goods for the same destination to make up a load, and could be delivered from tire receiving depot by horse lorry. The goods would
vary considerably in weight and bulk, so that sonic sort of broad classification and scale of rates would be necessary, whilst it might be possible to arrange that as tar as possible a member's wagon would carry as back loads goods in the same broad classification as those which he himself sent out.
In order to prevent any member from taking undue advantage of the facilities for back loads, it would be necessary to apportion these so that. they bore some relation to the tonnage which each member banded to the association for conveyance by other members.
The depots would be under the. control or local cunt mittees, whilst delegates from each district would meet periodically to fix rates, elect members and transact the other necessary business. Capital, of course, would be necessary to start the scheme, and this might be raised by arranging that each member should take up a certain number of shares in proportion to the number of vehicles which he owned. A small commission would be charged by the association on every ton passing through its hands, to cover working expenses, and any surplus would be returned to members as dividend. Drivers might be provided with wa.ybills, which they would present on arrival at their destination, and upon which would be stated the time at which they reported themselves as ready to unload. One hour might be allowed for this operation, after which a charge of, say, as. an hour might be made for standing. In a short article such as this, it is impossible to do more than offer a few suggestions, but if any interest is aroused the writer's object will have been achieved. Difficulties there would be, and many points would require careful consideration, but no doubt a committee of practical men would evolve a working scheme.
The professional company promoter has his eye on the development of road transit, and there are rumours of forthcoming flotations which will, in all probability, do the movement no good. "Alder careful management,. there is undoubtedly profit to be made out of road transport, but failure is bound to follow where there are heavy charges for unearned directors' fees, promotion expenses and so forth, and a lack of knowledge of local conditions. Under sonic such scheme as that outlined, all the essentials for success would he there, and the resulting benefits would be retained by members, who would also enjoy the advantages derived from the ownership of their own commercial motor vehicles,