Farmers, Bricks and No
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y G. A. PEARSON
HIS:' said Peter Spandler, a vice-chairman of the R.H.A. Eastern area and a national councillor, pointing to a shipload of Dutch produce, "is its my opinion the shot in the arm that Yarmouth needed." For years herrings had kept hauliers going, he said. They still land herrings at Yarmouth, but only from "foreign-based ".drifters; last year not one Yarmouthbased boat was in the catch. The covered fish wharves have been taken over for fruit, vegetables and other imports and nearby Lowestoft has become the port for trawlers.
At first, new factories kept Yarmouth hauliers just in business. Timber was the main port trade, but more was needed. Slowly but surely it has come: scrap iron for export, cattle for export, fertilizers, herring specialists switching over to food canning, a Shell depot costing enough in port dues to enable considerable modernization to be carried out to the quay, and the ultimate booster, the Dutch produce. . Superior International Ltd. began it all four or five years ago and the Norfolk line to Scheveningen, Holland, was instituted. They have their own boats and their own C-licensed fleet of 25 vehicles. Geest of Spalding now import with three or four boats a week. Many hauliers from outside also handle the port trade.
The value of Yarmouth lies in the fact that it is possible to cross at most times to suit oneself because the tides do not greatly affect sailings and there is a tremendous river frontage. The effect is that this is a very fast way to market.
AGRICULTURALWORKSO% The port is all important, but even so it is estimated that half the R.H.A. sub-area activity is connected with agriculture. "A fair rate for the work is demanded, otherwise the job is turned down," J. W. lining, a doyen among hauliers (with 56 years in the trade), told me. Mr. Utting was the first chairman of the sub-area and his nephew, J. Utting, junior, is currently the chairman.
Theirs is a family business going back to horse transport in 1903. They concentrate on local work in Norfolk and Suffolk, which accounts for 60 per cent of the activity of their 14 flats and six tippers.
They move some 10,000 tons of fertilizers and salt in an average year; but Bird's Eye make the biggest contribution to the Utting business, accounting for about one-third of the activity. THE SPANDLER FAMILIES Peter Spandler who, with a brother on his staff, manages another family business, L. G. Perfect (Haulage) Ltd. (controlled by his father), bears the oldest name in Yarmouth haulage. He comes from a branch of the family that started Spandler Brothers Ltd., which is still the oldest concern in existence there. There is no business connection; Peter Spandler's father, who entered haulage independently after first trying accountancy, bought L. G. Perfect in 1948.
The "shot in the arm "from Holland has been their shot, too. Business doubled between 1958 and 1960 and has trebled since then.
Ipswich Traders Move
THanygrass to grow around its goods at Ipswich, a town E Traders Road Transport Association has not allowed that could be expanded to double its present 120,000 and is already scheduled for at least a 50 per cent expansion. It may be anticipated that there will be considerable demands for industrial development, because there has not been any substantial new industry in Ipswich since the War, and for steps to be taken to increase port activity. Meanwhile, an inner ring road plan is already in pro
gress, the basis being a series of no-waiting radial approaches to the ring, with lay-bys.
The aim is to keep the city centre clear of through traffic, and for use only by those whose journey is really necessary. No special plans have yet been devised for loading and unloading. An industrial route to the docks remains "on the table ", subject to thinking on the long-term plan.
P. AND M. COACH-AIR Across the road from the P. and M. Coach Line Ltd. in Portman Road, Ipswich, is the football club which rose meteorically to fame a few years ago but which has de-dined just as rapidly. This has nct materially affected P. and M., for they are not licensed to run their fleet of 16 coaches to matches. They are, however, the only operators in Ipswich and district, Colchester, Bury and Newmarket, licensed to run English and Contimental extended tours from three to 16 days. They also run day trips between Easter and October; so they are ticking over happily, expecting to grow steadily with the town.
Primrose and Marguerite were acquired by A. C. Archer in 1938 and amalgamated into the present family company in 1942. It is the oldest passenger organization in the Eastern counties, the original business having preceded the railway line to Felixstowe.
This year P. and M. have introduced coach-air. IpswichSouthend-Basle, on all Continental tours. Sea crossings are normally by the short Channel route from Dover which, although 125 miles away, is convenient for getting to the most popular centres abroad; but they will be keeping an eye on Felixstowe to see if the eventual port expansion can be made to produce passenger benefits.
Colchester and the Hedinghams
A T Colchester 1 talked with L. G. A. Cousins, R.H.A. 1—k sub-area chairman, who comes from little Sible Hedingham, where the railway station was one of the first to come under the Beeching axe. First impressions that this would be unlikely to affect trade in so small a place would be misleading for there has been a noticeable transfer of goods to the road.
New small hauliers appear regularly. The small man settles mainly for agricultural business which, in volume. is assessed at 40 per cent of the area activity.
Bulk tipping is keeping the agricultural rate down, so much so that Cousins Transport have in two years .switched from 40 per cent agricultural work to virtually nil.
They have just welcomed into service four new l,500-cu.ft. articulated boxvans to transport TV cabinets. At the moment replacement vehicles are coming along at one a month because trade was good throughout last winter and the budget can stand it. The policy is that a company must keep moving despite the threat of nationalization.
Tubby Builds at Lowestoft
LLOWESTOFT population rose by 2,000 in a few months last year and is expected to increase by 10,000 within two or three years. That means exceptional building activity for the man labelled as a "daring character ", Jack Tubby, who started in 1946 with a 5-ton vehicle and now has a fleet of 50 spread over two companies. He can look back to driving 80,000 miles in a year in his early days—and he climbs into the cab now at the slightest provocation!
The importance of building in his life is that his brother is putting up houses at a colossal rate and Jack brings in B25 plaster, lime and other building materials as return loads from his normal outward haulage. With port business increasing at Lowestoft, where they can take vessels up to 2,500 tons, and an accompanying urge to develop in Norfolk, Mr. Tubby recently bought businesses at Wood Norton and Long Stratton and is merging them under the Richard Corfidd (Long Stratton) Ltd. title.
Bird's Eye are installed at Lowestoft as well as at Yarmouth, and Mr. Tubby gives services to both branches, which provide him with a third of his work.
He shares Beecham's foodstuff haulage with B.R.S., at the rate of 40 tons a day. Farm collections are another important factor from August to October, and four or five four-wheelers run to the fruit markets with home produce.
All maintenance to the extent of rebuilding is done "at home " and I may add that at one time this really was home until the office grew so large that the proprietor had to find living accommodation elsewhere!
J. Tubby Ltd. is one of Six companies forming the East Coast Transport Clearing House at Lowestoft, to counter any attempts at rate-cutting.
SPEEDING-UP E. ANGLIA The name of Norfolk
• Haulage Co. Ltd., based at Trowse, on the south-east side • of Norwich, may have seemed more prominent of late because the company title has been displayed on the majority of the vehicles for the first time. There are 100 of them in all—one for every year of existence of a concern that had its beginnings on water.
• The bulk of ,the vehicles are Fords and there are 15 Bedfords. In addition from 10 to 15 vans are hired on most days.
Ten years ago, said managing director Mr. C. L. Holmes, after considerable study and research on what was needed and what was practicable, they started the fastest service in the Eastern counties—delivery to any town in 24 hours and to any village in 48 when seven days was, in places, a standard delivery time.
Almost everything except furniture and livestock finds its way into the system to service 2,700 towns and villages and most of these products come from outside the Eastern area, many of the customers being competitive among themselves. I toured one transit store and saw virtually everything that goes on to the weekly grocery order; in another, by contrast, were drums of oil awaiting distribution instructions.
Casks of Guinness were stored and insulated at a special temperature; and 1 rn. cu. ft. of warehotise space is fully exploited with fork-lift storing to the roof. Security arrangements are elaborate. Sorting and loading is done overnight and every customer is asked to intimate approximate time of arrival and dispatch. If there is any congestion those who have advised their plans are given priority. Norfolk Haulage aim at a five-day, week but frequently have to add Saturday.
When I asked Mr. Holmes if vehicle design fulfilled his needs, the reply was: "I always want something that doesn't exist today but often does by tomorrow."
He likes to see goods handled the right way, even if it is by rail. He submits that accepting orders for which you are best suited and carrying them out to contract at a businesslike rate means that you invariably keep the customer.
SUFFOLK CARRIERS Modern documentation and
efficiency run side by side with old-world custom in Suffolk, where the country carriers still converge on an Ipswich inn to collect and interchange packages. The degree of trust was described to me as fantastic, the unattended "smalls " (on occasions with loose money on ton of them) being left to await the arrival of the carrier.
FELIXSTOWE FERRY Timber leads the way at
Felixstowe which was revived as a port virtually from scratch a decade ago and now in the midst of a three-year development plan that will enable them to take double the size of the present 4,000 tons that is the maximum sized vessel that can be accommodated. The most vital development from the hauliers' point of view will be the roll-onroll-off Continental service that is expected to be ready to run from March, next, to Rotterdam and the Low Countries. The Atlantic Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. will operate it.
Chemical powders, machinery, fruit, paper, lard, cars, gas; they all come into Felixstowe and keen B.R.S. (who have the lion's share) and local hauliers busy.
BIGGER SHIPS Ipswich takes bigger ships
with similar goods and bulk metal. The increase there has been enjoyed by Ives and Smith Ltd., who also specialize in heavy machinery haulage, Orwell Roadways (Ipswich) Ltd.. Corbett and Miller Ltd., and fruit specialists E. C. Cross. At nearby Woodbridge is W. Carter, who claims the biggest all-round fleet in the district, offering breakdown repairs, horse transport, Iairage and local and distance general haulage. "What is needed now," said Betts, "is a good A45 road to the Midlands." Unloading, loading and parking conditions at many markets are, he says, archaic.
Even with this intensified general traffic the many smaller men are still reliant upon agriculture for about a half of the loads. Rates, it would seem, have not moved with times. There has not been an increase in the sugar beet rate for several years. In general traffic, despite keen competition, there was an upward trend last year although the timber rates remain down.
100,000 HEAD A YEAR J. W. Leggett Ltd., of Beccles.
claims to be the biggest carrier of livestock in the county (regularly topping 100,000 head a year). He started with cattle floats in 1921, and his vehicles are to be seen at many markets. He runs from 12 to 15 to Norwich every week and may well go on from there to deliver even so far as Scotland. His fleet includes one articulated unit, a 25-ft.long double-deck vehicle that will take 120 pigs.
Tons and Turners
.DIVERSIFY and decentralize, say some of the bigger operators. It is the policy of Turner's (Soham) Ltd., who run a 350-acre farm under the main title but are primarily a haulage concern with a small headquarters at Fordham, Cambridgeshire, where the main depot is also sited. This, formerly a B.R.S. group headquarters managed by R. H. Cooke, was acquired in 1955 with 35 vehicles and special A licences. Mr. Cooke is now general manager of the Turner organization.
Soham and Letchworth were already handling livestock when Fordham was added and the need to stake a claim for industrial work became apparent. To this end, a small business and depot was acquired in Manchester. In time the formula was repeated in Norwich. Now they run five or six night trunk services—Manchester to Fordham and Manchester to Norwich, carrying in total 150 tons each way each night. Businesses at Eye and (recently) Ipswich, have been acquired and merged at Martlesham.
Some 170 vehicles and nearly 200 drivers are kept busy by Turners. At Fordham they are finding that growing industry is attracting local labour and creating some difficulty in replacing experienced drivers.
Endeavouring to keep one step ahead of " panic stations ", Turners have a staff of 31 on maintenance, including four men on 24-hour coverage at Fordham, this staff also tackling bodybuilding, producing an average of a refrigerated container a month, in anticipation of demand.
There has been some recession in agricultural business, but 16,000 tons of sugar beet are still cleared in the season.
In the season, 30,000 tons of bulk sugar are carried. In Norwich the pea harvest keeps the tippers busy for six weeks. in Cambridgeshire horticulture, strawberries and other local fruits fill six trailers with 60 to 70 tons a night to London for two to three months.
TIPPER-PLATFORM QUICK CHANGE A bulk grain and sugar beet tipper in use for three months of the year would not earn its corn for the Wilkinson brothers who run the family business of J. A. Wilkinson and Sons Ltd., at Hatfield Peverel. In conjunction with bodybuilder A. Smith, Great Bentley, they have designed a 24-ft. tipping container that can be detached within 15 minutes to leave a platform truck, free of tipping gear, for use during the greater part of the year. They introduced the idea with a Thames sixwheeler, three years ago and followed up in February this year with a more elaborate version that is on an Albion Reiver.
The Wilkinson fleet of 10 vehicles is used mainly for agricultural purposes with bulk grain and market work a speciality. Most of the produce, including considerable fruit, goes to the Midlands and the North, with fertilizers being brought back from I.C.I. at 13illingham in Co. Durham. There is a regular bulk wheat run to Crayford, Kent, at the other end of the Thames tunnel at Dartford. It is a winner; the time has-been cut from 3 to 14 hours each way since the opening of the tunnel, so that two trips a day can now be made.
J. E. Wilkinson is R.H.A. sub-area chairman of a district in which it is estimated that 60 per cent of the work is ,agricultural. Rates are low; here again I encountered the situation of no change for several years.
Chelmsford Network is Ghastly
ALL roads in Essex may seem to lead to the county town of Chelmsford, and communications may be improving, but, in the words of N. S. Hunter, Eastern area vicechairman of the T.R.T.A., the local network is ghastly. There are 40 tortuous, winding miles along the A414 to reach the MI at St. Albans; there is a twisting road to Cambridge; a sticky approach to North London via Epping; and an improved Al2 to the East Coast that still contains its bottlenecks. The lifesaver is the Purfleet-Dartford tunnel, used by Mr. Hunter for routeing Hoffman Manufacturing Co. Ltd. products to Ashford, Kent. Drivers now leave at 5 a.m. and are back by 1 p.m. Previously they were gone for the day.
Access to premises is an associated problem and, with some firms refusing to accept delivery after 3 p.m. and others objecting to delivery on Friday, Mr. Hunter feels that the question of night delivery must be faced in the next 18 months. He quotes Chelmsford on Friday (market day) where it is suicidal to attempt to do anything in the town. With the co-operation of the customers, the Hoffman concern could tackle night service.
If there is a change of Government will it bring a change of C-licence conditions? Because of this problem Hoffman are slow-pedalling in fleet replacement. They submit that the C-licence system has in the main expanded because it is best for the particular job to be done.
The T.R.T.A. is a happy family in the Eastern area and Mr. Hunter gives much credit to the area secretary, Miss D. Mann at Chivers; to a former divisional chairman, Harold Chandler at Fisons, of Ipswich, and to the divisional secretary, R. E. G. Brown,
STAFF PROBLEMS Making changes in 69 services
affecting 12 depots and saving some 300,000 miles a year, Eastern National Omnibus Co. Ltd. took one of its big steps of the year in mid-April. In all these changes, only one village went out of service; this was Great Sampford, population 340, where formerly two buses to Braintree ran once a week on Wednesdays. There were no objections to cutting the service back to run from Great Bardfield to Braintree.
Contrast this small village with the new town of Basildon, which has grown to a population of 80,000 in 10 years and appears to be making rapid progress to its first target of 110,000. This development decided Eastern National to take the Tilbury to Clacton through service and the old City Coach service from Wood Green, London to Southend into Basildon centre instead of passing on the fringe. Basildon now has an 80-vehicle shed. Billericay, too, has made great strides. Since the improvement of rail commuter services, intensive bus traffic has centred on the station. A limited stop service from Wivenhoe to Brightlingsea was offered to replace the closed rail service in mid-June.
Life is not all plain-sailing at Eastern National headquarters in Chelmsford. Traffic manager R. Hanley emphasized that there is a shortage of staff especially in the headquarters town. Peak services are the main embarrassment, with adult workers and scholars clashing in the morning. One answer would be for the education authorities to put more school services out to contract, and suggestions have been made to this effect. Another
BUILDING materials produced in the area are providing
Southend operators with their chief activity. The district is becoming increasingly industrialized With the dividing line from London more and more difficult to define, heavy machinery contrasting with haulage provided by paper and clothing factories, the whole making the future look very bright indeed.
A sore point has been an accompanying outburst of illegal operation, especially of tippers on building work. Recent severe penalties may have put the brakes on this. There is also some disquiet among hauliers over the type of vehicle employed for the handling of freight at Southend Airport. The volume of goods dispatched, which is at times second only to that handled at London Airport, might indicate good living for the local people; but it should be borne in mind that cars form a considerable proportion of the freight traffic. Certainly there is work for the Southend people but my impression,' after a check with E. J. Barber (the sub-area secretary) is that, overall, the airport is no great boon to Southend area operators.
LEAVING HOME At Ramsden Heath, where
Southend sub-area chairman, J. Patten operates, the population has jumped from 200 to 2,000 in five years. Mr. Patten's own business has, after steady growth to six A, three contract A and a B licence (covering flats, a shunter and trailers) reached the stage where he feels it necessary to build an office and staff it, after running things from home until now. He has applied for a further A licence. Before turning to haulage in 1935, he operated a passenger service for five years.
CONTAINER NEED Essex Carriers of Benfket,
are experimenting in concentrated areas with the lighter 3-ton walk-through van and are, so far, finding them most successfully deployed within a mile or two of their Ipswich depot. They are also giving considerable thought to improving van bodies in which the bulkhead behind the driver's seat does not go far enough across for the driver to stack to best advantage, one result being that the load might shoot forward into the cab in the case of a sudden halt. In mind as a remedy is a system of slats hinging upwards so that the driver can get at goods from the cab, hinge up gradually and ultimately walk through to clear the balance of his supplies. A nightly trunk service to Birmingham is due to be initiated from Benfleet; it will offer connections with the Tpswich-Colchester-Benfleet service.