OPINIONS and QUERIES
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THE PROBLEM OF ROAD AND RAIL CHARGES
REFERRING to the letter from W.T.F. in your issue "dated August 4, regarding the road and rail charges problem, may I say that I have not stated that basic heavy traffic such as coal, pig iron, etc., in Classes 1 to 6, is carried at less than. cost? The position is that only a comparatively small proportion of the railway companies' very heavy overhead costs are allocated to the rail rates charged on raw material.
Railway , companies handle 230.000,000 tons per • annum of raw materials, and because of wastage-100 tons of raw material are required to make 14 ions of steel—rail rates must be as low as possible. Incidentally, I would view with dismay the diversion of any considerable proportion of this tonnage from rail to road, having regard to our inadequate road system.
I appreciate the point that the true cost of transport does not end when a truck of coal arrives at a consignee's siding, but neither does it end, in many Instances, when the road vehicle tips its load of coal in the works. Fuel has to be stored, there is throwing up to be done, and there is the drawing from stock. The shovel is not the only means for handling coal.
The principle of "What the traffic will bear" is accepted by steamship and canal companies as well as railway companies, and whenever the traders have been challenged before the Railway Rates Tribunal and other bodies, they have never repudiated the principle.
Quinton, Birmingham, 32. C. E. JORDAN.
VEHICLE REPAIRS BY OPERATOR OR TRADER ?
I WAS very interested to read in your issue of August 4 the article by S.T.R., entitled "Bulk Buying by Groups is Fundamentally Wrong," although many of his arguments I found difficult to follow.
What particularly interested me, however, was the reference to S.T.R.'s conversation with Mr. George W. Lucas, president of the M.A.A. Mr. Lucas apparently denied statements made a short time ago in the technical Press, to the effect that the M.A.A. was pressing for some control over the repairing of commercial vehicles. He even went so far as to say that so long as any commercial motor user can effect his own repairs more efficiently and at less cost than he could have them done by a motor agent, he is fully entitled to do them. The article ends by quoting Mr. Lucas as saying: "Indeed, I strongly' recommend him to continue to effect his own repairs. It is the business of the motor agent to put himself into a position to give such service that he. can effect repairs more efficiently and at less cost than can the user himself."
I would not accuse Mr. Lucas of being deliberately deceitful, but I think he is very forgetful, otherwise how could he have overlooked the M.A.A. memorandum on " The position of the motor vehicle retail and repairing trade as it is to-day and on its post-war outlook," sub mitted to the Board of Trade on June 24, 1942? On page 25 of this memorandum the following appears:— " (1) The position of the motor vehicle repairing trade after the war is most uncertain. It will be seriously affected by the growth of operator and factoryowned repair shops, peferred to earlier in this memorandum, unless steps are taken to curtail that growth, to close down all redundant operator and factory-owned repair workshops, and to transfer the available motor mechanic labour to the scheduled' establishments of the motor vehicle repairing trade, which can make more efficient use of such labour, specializing, as it does, on the repair of motor vehicles.
" (2) Not only now, but after the war, there must be some limitation in the setting up of domestic vehiclerepair establishments by operators and factories to obtain the greatest degree of concentration on the particular activity or work for which such commercial and indus trial undertakings exist." J. M. Britoil, General Manager (For Birch Bros., Ltd.).
SIR NOEL CURTIS-BENNETT, K.C.V.O., WELCOMES WREXHAM SCHEME YOU were good enough recently to publish a letter of mine in which I suggested that perhaps too little thought had been given to the provision of ample. convenient, and pleasant car accommodation in the housing schemes of the future.
I have since heard from the Borough of Wrexham, the coat-of-arms of which bears the words `f Fear God Honour the King," that a " neighbourhood " development scheme, with plans for 2,500 houses, a community centre, shops, churches, repairing garage, etc., has been prepared. Blocks of lock-up garages will be distributed over the site within short distances of the houses. The design and character and appearance of the garages, together with ideas about equipment, washing space and heating, are being considered.
What Wrexham is doing I trust will be done in other
towns and cities. NOEL CURTIS-BENNETT,
President (For Guild of Master Motorists and Civil Service Motoring Association). London, S.W.1.
DO NOT EXPECT A ROADTRANSPORT UTOPIA
AS a regular reader of your excellent journal, I cannot, after reading the recent advertisements of a very well-known concern using your columns, help offering my views on a subject which, although not new to your columns, is of paramount importance to the industry.
The first advertisement to catch my t ye contained passages referring to the Army driver "dreaming of his own little fleet of —s after the War," whilst the second one hinted that these same drivers king for peace (who does not?), and "the chance to swap their pay books for pay loads.' '
In fairness to those concerned, I think that they should be enlightened as to one or two things before they build their castles. in the air.
Taking the first group, those who contemplate entering the road-transport industry for the first time after the war, if, as they should be, they are making inquiries as to what they may expect in the way of assistance from the powers that be. I fail to see how they expect to realize their ambition. I myself, like many hundreds of others of the " small fry" have had .to fight tooth and nail for the chance to carry on ray business, with nothing but a host of throttling restrictions for encouragement since the present conflict began, and practically no praise by the Government for our efforts, although the railways are represented as almost the saviours of the country.
Secondly, aword to the would-be drivers. Without any statistics to guide me, I have no fear in stating that the numbers of drivers trained for the Services, who never held a wheel before in their lives prior to joining up, would far exceed any possible demands made by ..the industry alter tbeawar, unless, and here is the snag, the Government completely revised its attitude towards road transport, and allowed it the freedom and help which it has justly earned through its unseen efforts during the war. • Remember, also, the numbers of experienced lorry drivers who were " old hands " when they were called up, and who are entitled to first consideration when the demand for post-war drivers Ames along.
Do not brand me as a wet blanket, I wish to place such hopes and ambitions only in the right perspective for serious consideration, and show that the roadtransport industry is not a modern Utopia, as some may have been led to believe, nor is it likely to become one if the present outlook be anything to go by.
Do not merely take my word for it, ask any small man who has had to battle for his right to earn a living ever since the Road and Rail Traffic Act was brought into force, and prepare for a " strong " answer.
Bridlington. SMALL Fey.
IS THIS A GOOD TIME-KEEPING RECORD?
I WONDER what the record is for time-keeping. 1 have not been late in the 23 years I have been at the Morris motor works, where I am a storekeeper.. Perhaps some reader of " The Commercial Motor " can beat that. It would be interesting to know, especially nowadays, when good time-keeping is so important, although, speaking for myself, I have never foinul it difficult.
My father was a stud groom in Sussex, and I began getting up early When I was eight years old, to help exercise the horses I nearly lost my own record some years back when I had to cycle three miles through snow slush and arrived 20 minutes late, but we were given an hour's grace because of the storm, so I was well on the right side. WM. GARDNER. Oxford
• STRENGTHEN OUR MIDDLE EAST TRADE REPRESENTATION
BEING a regular reader of your weekly journal, I am pleased to say that the recent notes on the activities of the S.M.M.T. were very informative, especially those regardiag British trade representation overseas in general
and the Middle East in particular.
I am very keen to see the British motor trade develop in this part of the world, and on way of realizing this end is to establish its proper representation in every country in the Orient.
The S.M_M.T. is sertously considering the necessity of an overseas establishment, and I believe that something is being done in this direction.
The British motor trade has been engaged in the Middle East countries on a very moderate scale, chiefly due to the lack of interest and the .neglect of the appropriate British trading institutions.
It is therefore unnecessary to stress how valuable a proper representation of the British motor industry would prove to its overseas economic development after the war.
I would like to suggest to the proper, authorities that a scheme should be prepared and carried out Without further delay. It mutt not be delayed;' because it is no secret that the motor industries of 'other leading a32 countries are instituting many efforts through purely private channels.
Moreover, I do-not consider it fair that other than British influence should prevail in this part of the world, and I am convinced that the local governments would be pleased to assist in every way in this direction.
Another very delicate and important problem is the necessity of persuading the consumer in the Middle East to becomeaa willing purchaser of British products. I believe that this factor is an outstanding one, which requires careful scrutiny to reach a satisfactory solution.
Up to the beginning of this war, British goods were hardly distributed in the Middle -East—thanks to the war and the establishment of the Middle East Supply Board, that commercial traffic was switched over to British undertakings and thus a tontrol of imported goods was attained.
The consumers have gradually established a preliminary stage of business relations with British manufacturers and traders, and now it is essential to encourage further development by proper authorities.
I strongly believe that very fruitful results can be obtained if an organization be established in the Middle East, with headquarters at Cairo and branches in every neighbouring ceuntry.
In this respect, I would be happy to become a us-eful member to any organization willing to take th initiative' in this direction. Jam( MERKTNE. 4, Yeliuda-Halevi Street, TeILAviv, Palestine.
SHARING THE DUNLOP POST-WAR TRAINING PLAN
MEN on Service and their relatives on the home front may well be reassured by thewidespread response which has come from British industry to my recent offer in " The Commercial Motor," to share with other organizations the experience to date of the Dunlop postwar training plan.
The enornious interest aroused by the plan is a welcome recognition of the debt we owe to our men in the Forces. More than 100 inquiries have come to rne, at least two-thirds of them from such industries as the coal, iren, steel, textile, rubber, motor, engineering, gas, oil, electrical, flour, cable, plastics, hosiery, linoleum, • needle, pharmaceutical, film, and boot and shoe; not to mention one of the big chain store.
Our industrial organizations are, indeed, preparing, to take up the challenge, as Lord Wnolton declared to the House of Lords they would, to rebuild in this country a' land worthy of its men. It will be good that the men themselves should -know that preparations to receive them back into civil life are already well forward.
Meanwhile, from the long-term point of view, training of both staff and operative personnel, such aS cannot be given elsewhere, has already begun, so opening up the way of advancement to the individual and increasing the efficiency of the industry. It wotild be difficult to rate too highly for the strenuous years of peace, the cumulative value of this aspect of our work. Pursued in every industry it will do much to secure Britaih's place in the, markets of the world. C. D. LAW,
Chief Staff Training and Appointments Officer (For Dunlop Rubber Co., Ltd.). ,Birmingham, 24.