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23rd December 1915
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Keywords : Rail Transport

COMMERCIAL MOTOR

Recognized in Business and Military Circles as the Leading Journal.

The Authority on all forms of Motor Transport. Largest Circulation.

1914: 1915: 1916: 1917: 1918: 19111.

Tha war goes on. There have been many prophecies concerning its progress and ending. The latest of these, from America, fixes the duration at 12 months—to finish, with tile downfall of Kaiserdam, in February, 1918. We fear that no more importance can be attached to this new " 666 " forecast than to many others which the eluxion of time has already shown to-be erroneous. Tlie point fj us to note, and it gives the basis upon which we urge our readers to arrange their affairs, is this: business must be conducted upon the assumption that the war will continue for the. full three years which were postulated at the outset by .Lord Kitchener. A conclusion within that period will be so much to the good for those who organize to meet the whole, and the worstmay prOve-to be a continuance of hostilities, accompanied by a widening of spheres, beyond Lord Kitchener's date.

The motor-transport industry will not go down, except as a benefit to posterity. The longer the war lasts, the greater and the more insistent will become the demand for road haulage and conveyance. The big impresements of vehicles in 1914 and 1ffl5 caused grave blanks; W.D. orders remain huge'and paramount ; the withdrawal of drivers and mechanics has made it harder and harder, since July last more particularly, to " Keep the wheels of industry.turning "on the road and in the factory. -The year 1916 opens, partly despite and partly in consequence of these factors, with circumstances in evidence which demonstrate the existence of a commercial denfand undiminished, and a scope unprecedented, for extensions of use. The new quarter-million haulage company for the carriage of cotton and cotton goods in Lancashire, to which we first made reference last week, is but one of many big projects which are now in course of shaping, and which will lead to like developments for special trades and particular districts.

Agricultural interests are little less than affrighted. They are ready to welcome mechanical aid where they have hitherto spurned it. The railways have left them almost derelict, and they have been taught a lesson in the past 12 months that might not, but for the war, have been assimilated for a century. The agrimotor :For use on the land and in the yard is coming into its own;, the light and handy tractor or motor lorry will run it a close second in the farmer's essential plant hereafter. Labour having gone, and that which is left .costing so much more than for-. merly, the only solution is to have recourse to . mechanical power on the large scale. The year 1916 will witness a jump forward. All the portents are there. We have recorded numerous prefatory incidents in our pages 'during 1915.

Passenger traffic is another problem for the year. The provision of faciliti,.7!s to cater for -public conveyance, now possible on settled and remunerative lines, is as yet only in its infancy. The country as a whole may be living very largely on capital, by reason of war conditions; but "money" was never better distributed as regards 'circulation. Wornen,are about to possess and exercise spending power to an unforeseen extent. Much of their money will find its way into the shops of drapers and milliners, but very large aggregate sums, in the year now about to open, and in later years, will be added to the receipts of passenger-carrying undertakings. Women will no longer have to sit at home. Their newly-found incomes confer upon them a potential value to:,motorbus companies, and we are convinced that no individual Change in•'the social . life of the 'country will, in the Year 1916, be of as great effect. _Let the Managements Of ..motorbus companies, both London and provincial.: he alive to the meaning and full import for them of this re-distribution of wealth.

-The goods branches of commercial Motoring promise well. They have been harassed rin. 1915, and they are not without troubles now on the personnel side. The C.M.TJ.N. success in getting drivers added to the reserved lists should lighten those anxieties, whilst the bounding demand for transport yields more than an equivalent on the. revenue side. Contractors have nothing to fear; users who convey their own goods know better than we can-tell them by how much more than 50 per cent. their motors are cheaper-than " any other way of doing it."

The L.O.B. Committee is no shadow OR cur path. Its results are not likely to be known for some months longer than was at first hoped, but we. are content to wait. We are satisfied that no harm will be done to heavy motoring, when the report is published and action is taken on it. The net 'effect will be to standardize and settle a few yet important points re construction and user.

We look back on 1915 as a year that has done much to help the cause of commercial motoring. We forecast, for 1916 or" some later date," that our T.T.S.A. friends will be deprived of equal access to the British market, in that their country's .repre, sentatives will not be able to plead on the:groundS of which they availed themselves last September.

Packing and Empties.

Oar contemporary " `The Railway News " gave 'prominence, recently to an article which was entitled " A Packing Pool for Traders." This article was from the pen of Mr. G. F. Bilbrough, an authority on the subject of railwaysrating and germane matters. This gentleman was reared and tutared in the headquarters rates office of the Midland Railway Co., at Derby, and in the District Manager's office of the same company, at Birmingham. He lies closely studied the " empty trouble " for many years. Anything which issues from Mr. Bilbrough pen is both informative and reliable. No man better than he knows the. inner complexities of railway traffic, and above all the inevitable expenses which attach to the handling of empty packages at, railway yards, tranship stations and warehouses.

We have Mr. Bilbrough's permission to publish the article to which we refer, and to which he has made certain small additions since it .appeared in " The Railway News." We are not concerned, as a journal primarily identified with the interests of commercial motoring, to support or criticise the pooling scheme so far as it may concern the railway undertakings of the country. We none the less hope something may come of it, in so far as it is calculated to help to relieve the general industrial situation.

The article is of value to readers of THE CommEaCIAL Moron for other reasons. It serves to enforce the economies which can be effected from the use of road vehicles, by which means alone, in the vast majority of cases, can proper control be maintained ON er empties. Brewers and millers, for example, know full well the value of modern transit, by reason of the realized economies in connection with barrels and sacks. Not only are annoying trade disputes avoided with customers, but considerable reductions are found to be poSSible in the amounts of locked-up capital. Packages, where motor transport is utilized, can be turned over at least three times as often in the year as they can where rail or rail-cum-horse methods survive the competitive assault of motor methods, and we have known cases where the number of uses of the same packages per year has been increased ten-fold by the latter. Furthermore, with motor transport, packages and packing are frequently eliminated, thus saving both first and maintenance costs, without any concomitant disadvantages. The modern way pays its own way, all day, and all the days. " Empties " seldom mar it.

The possibilities of interchange of pachagrxi on thzpooling basis, in favour of which the article is a considered argument, appear to us to be meagre, unleSs. they IL organized trade by trade. Lessons may be taken, of course, from the standardized practice in many branches of the fruit trade, but it would he hopeless to attempt to utilize fruit packages for any' other industry. The same difficulty must arise in connection with most—if not all—proposals for transferences in the direction of common user. The essenee of a package is that it shall be of dimensions hich coincide with its contents, and we regard general standardization as wholly out of the question. That fact almost bars progress.

Tie ides, is a good one, like Mr. Gatty's idea for a central clearing house in the Metropolis, but we beliemuite dispassionately, that both schemes can be seriously characterized as cases of " sighing after the unattainable." The principles are sound, and there the matter ends.

Something in the: indicated direction may be achieved through trade associations, and we coinmend a beginning in that manner, rather than the proposed testing of the scheme by limitation to centres of population in 'excess of ;50,000 persons. It is only when the veil is occasionally lifted, as in this instance, to disclose a peep intO the encumbrances of railway working, that the freedom and true elasticity of individual motor transport are the better appreciated. Our advice to traders is this: read Mr. Bilbroagh's paper, and vote for the road motor.. It should serve to frighten more and more people away from the railway—if they can get away, and stay away. • For* Men Released from the A.S.C.,

• •

M.T., or About to Be Released.

• It is our special pleasure to draw attention. to the Communication which we have received from the :Secretary of the C.M.T.7.A., and which we publish on page 354 herewith.

It will be seen that this Association has already taken time by the forelock and has initiated a scheme which would appear to he of the greatest consequence to those thousands of men who have enlisted as drivers in the A.S.C., M.T.

Threugh the happy circumstance that we are, by way of the Campaign Comforts Fund, in close touch with almost all the individual officers and men of the A.S.C., M.T., on active service, we are in the fortunate position of being able to assist the C.M.T.T.A. in this praiseworthy effort. This additional means of Making known these new facilities to troops before their actual need for them positively arises, will effectually support the arrangements which the Association has made for the notification of all drivers who are eligible at the time when they are discharged. • The commercial-vehicle industry as a whole should make up its mind to stand by • those men, when peace conditions once again reign, who went from the industrial-vehicle business in its many branches to take up active-service duties. Obviously men who were in the industry before the war should have preferential treatment in so far as employment is concerned when their services are no longer required by the Government.

There will be many thousands of men capable of driving and of undertaking the. lighter maintenance jobs at the end of hostilities, and of these a large proportion will have received their introduction to the comthercial-vehicle world on account of the war. Those who were in it to begin with should not suffer on account of this increased competition. Then again, those who incur ill-health or injury should be the first of all to receive consideration. If such mishaps do not incapacitate them from civil employment and if other things are equal in respect of their efficiency, they should be given the first chance of employment.

The C.M.U.A. scheme appears likely to give effect to this consideration, and we heartily draw the a..t tention of our interested readers, whether Service men or civilians, to the announcement to which we have alreadY made reference.


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