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23rd December 1938
Page 22
Page 23
Page 22, 23rd December 1938 — THE L.s.d, OF LIVESTOCK HA ULAGE
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Problem of Assessing Fair Rates for the Carriage of Livestock, uhich is a Form of Transport Requiring Special Consideration

CATTLE and livestock haulage is, surely, one of those classes of work which the Transport Advisory Council had in mind, with regard to rates, when it stated : " It would probably be desirable to consider the exclusion of certain types of transaction, if only from the point of view of limiting the volume of work to be covered in the initial stages. The types of transaction in mind were those in which individual features were so varied. . . ."

It seems to me that the problem of arriving at fair rates for the haulage of livestock must be tackled in some way similar to that which I have always use‘ ' m arriving at rates for the carriage of parcels.

What I have in mind is this. If the problem be that of reckoning what should be the rates for the conveyance of a commodity such as grain, the calculation is comparatively simple. The factors are the tonnage carried, the time taken to load and unload, and to cover the distances. Vehicle cost—standing charges and running costs together—plus overheads, plus provision for profit, give a figure for the total charge, over the distance with which we are concerned, and from that it is merely a matter of simple division to arrive at the rate per ton.

Simple Procedure Not Possible.

In the haulage of livestock and in the carriage of parcels, no such simple procedure is possible. The parcels carrier covers a regular route, day in and day out. He can assess the cost of running his vehicle. He can add the overheads involved (which, incidentally, are considerable) and, by making allowance for profit, decide what his earnings ought to be.

On the other hand, he knows, with a fair amount of accuracy, what he is likely to be able to obtain per parcel, according to size and weight. His subsequent procedure is that of endeavouring to sell the service he offers, so that the traffic he carries is sufficient to earn him the requisite revenue.

*20 In cattle haulage, the operator visits markets, and probably he has, each day, a route which experience has shown him to be one in the course of covering which he will be able to pick up business. He calls on farmers on the way to the market which is open on that day. he delivers cattle at the market and he must await the result of the sales in the expectation of obtaining loads for delivery to butchers or to other farmers.

Alternatively, he visits Shows, and proceeds on somewhat similar lines, except that, in this department of his business, it is usual to make arrangements some days ahead. Because of the greater value of the animals carried and the need for greater care in their handling, he can usually obtain a better rate.

Routes including markets are, however, the staple of this business and the problem which faces the haulier is like that which has to be solved by the parcels carrier, in that the livestock haulier sets out with, say, a 4-ton vehicle and, to some extent, takes a chance on getting a full load for it.

The point is that in cattle haulage, as in parcels carrying, the only practicable way to arrive at rates is to work backwards.

The haulier, out of his experience, must determine for himself what his average loading is likely to be—one beast or four, 20 sheep or 50. He must know, again from experience, what proportion of the day the vehicle is likely to be standing idle, and he must have data available for the mileage covered. The latter provides him with a basis for the calculation of cost and, by adding profit, what his revenue should be. • Working backwards from that, and knowing the load he is likely to get, he must assess rates accordingly.

Suggested Schedule of Rates.

In Table I is given a schedule of cattle rates which has been suggested to me. I disagree entirely with this schedule. It does not seem to me to have any relation to what rates should be. If it were published, and taken as a basis for rates stabilization in connection with . .

this class of work, hauliers would more often than -not find themselves operating at a loss, for they would be compelled to carry one beast at these rates, whereas, in effect, they appear to be assessed on the basis of full loads,

Everyone in the industry knows that a man is just as likely to be asked by a farmer to carry one beast, as he is to be expected to carry half a dozen. Moreover, the 'rates (in this schedule) advance proportionately to the mileage. This is not logical in reference to cattle haulage because, in actual fact, the longer the route to be covered to the market the better the Chance of picking up traffic.

Following the; principles set out above, clearly the first

thing to do is. to agree upon some, minimum figures for the weekly earnings, for the various types of vehicle engaged in this class of .work. There are certain special features, about cattle haulage, which call for consideration to such an extent that it is not safe or reasonable merely to assume that the average figures quoted in—".Tke onmerciaLMotor Tables of Operating Cost ". apply.

In the first place, the bodywork is comparatively expensive. In the second, it is subject to' rapid depreciation or, alternatively, to fairly high cost of maintenance. Not only is it knocked about by the cattle themselves, but it suffers from the effect on the woodwork of excreta. There are certain special provisions and regulations, relating to this class of work, which add to the cost of operation and these must be taken into consideration.

In a subsequent article I shall deal with these matters and assess the minimum revenues for various sizes of vehicle, proceeding thence with information as to probable loads, to indicate what the rates ought to be. S.T.R.


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