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Aspects of Continental Removals

29th October 1965
Page 66
Page 66, 29th October 1965 — Aspects of Continental Removals
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

'THERE was an animated discussion period following the talk given by Mr. A. J. I Crowe, of the Buliens Organization Ltd., and the showing of a film describing the Transport Ferry Service at the British Association of Overseas Furniture Removers conference on road/sea removals last week. Introducing the film, Mr. Martin Walsh stressed the important contribution to exports made by the "floating bridges" of the TES. A number of competitive services, said Mr. Followed the TES lead. Walsh, had now Mr. Blundell asked what was the minimum quantity of household effects that it was worth while to send on a ferry service to the Continent, Mr. Crowe said this would depend on the destination but, if pressed, he would think that 1,000 cu. ft. was the minimum. and 1.500 Cu. ft. even more realistic.

As to the prospects for a one-trailer operator proposing to use the service. Mr. Crowe said his organization started with one trailer and now operated 44. It was essential, he thought, for intensive efforts to be made initially to build up the right Continental connections. Given this, it was his experience that each trailer could show a profit of £400 per year.

On back toads, Mr. Crowe gaid ope-ators should not have any predete-mincd ideas: availahle loads must he carried. Trailers should be thoroughly cleaned after each trip, Ile remarked.

Replying to Mr. Wade, of Lamertons. Ealing, who queried unit/trailer ratios on Continental work. Mr. Crowe said that up to eight trailers could be operated with each motive unit. The licensing position on both sides of the channel required attention. Contracts could be negotiated with Continental hauliers, or a business could be acquired. In the latter event, it must be in possession of licences to carry throughout Europe, Mr. Michael Gerson questioned the safety aspect if outwards loads of three torts of furniture were balanced with. say. 16-ton return loads of general goods. Unless trailers with special springing are used, was there not a risk of damage through furniture bouncing about? Mr. Crowe said special packing could be used but a better, though more expensive. solution was to use trailers equipped with variable hydraulic or pneumatic suspension systems.

Mr. Wright. of Timsons. Leicester. felt that average loads would seldom exceed 500 or 600 cu. ft. Complications could follow if loads were contracted out or composite loads were built up. There could also be customs difficulties; he had recently been asked by Harwich customs officers to identify some furniture samples sent back with a mixed load. Mr. Crowe said outward clearance of customs was now post-entry, with no delay at ferry terminal. The Tilt_ carnet system was well established at Rotterdam and there should be no delay if documents showing contents were sent to the local agents in advance.

Mr. Walsh told a questioner that the TES could now handle loads up to 15+ ft. 1132 high and up to 50 ft. in length. Anything higher on the Continent might have to use a special route to avoid low bridges on motorways.

Mr. Woodbridge suggested that there' could well be labour difficulties in Italy when unloading assistance was sought. Mr. Crowe said Bullens had always asked for a price for supplying labour and installing furniture in the residence, and he had found no difficulty.

Geddes Report a Threat

A DISCUSSION on the Geddes Com

mittee's Report on Carriers' Licensing, at the autumn conference of the National Association of Furniture Warehousemen and Removers last week, was opened by Mr. Hugh Begg (Dawsons) Ltd., who regretted that proposals for the revision of the licensing system had not been published. The committee had deprived itself of evidence and argument for improving the system, and Mr. Begg noted there was no reference to the furniture removing trade in the report. Even if the Geddes proposals were sound, he suggested. it should not be argued that the proposals 'necessarily applied to their industry. The report had been clearly written but its deductions were made without evidence.

Mr. Begg considered that much competition in the trade today was cut-throat and senseless and he thought the Geddes proposals. if legislated upon, would greatly accentuate the competition. The removals trade could easily become a " by-product " carried on by second-hand dealers and the like, with disastrous effects upon the prices charged for removals. With uncontrolled entry to the trade, competition would be on price alone the public were unaware of the quality-of-service aspect, and they required protection and enlightenment. A large-scale publicity campaign should be mounted. said Mr. Begg. so that MPs and the public knew their case. Geddes. he concluded, presented "one of the greatest emergencies the trade had ever faced ".

The president. Mr. A. R. M. Walker, said he had just received an application for employment from a North of England furniture remover who formerly operated four vehicles and a small warehouse. This operator. said Mr. Walker. had sold his business on the strength of the Geddes Report, knowing that it would have no monetary value if Geddes became law.

Mr. E. 3, White (chairman of the licensing committee) said the industry's case had been set out in a document at the request of the Minister of Transport. It would shortly be widely circulated. He thought it surprising that, some of the RHA proposals published in advance of Geddes had been accepted by functional groups. It was obvious to his committee that if more vehicles shared in a fixed amount of traffic they would all suffer a decided decrease in turnover and a loss of all profit-making capacity.

A lively discussion followed and it was clear that members were appreciative of the hard work put in by Mr. White and the licensing committee.

The image of the furniture removing industry would be improved, suggested Mr. J. L. Gerson, a past president of the Association, if prompt action were taken by members in advance of any mooted legislation. Their constitution had been little changed in the 65 years since NAFWR was set up; did it ,fully correspond adequately with present conditions? The integration of the industry's three bodies, at present all going their own way with the minimum of liaison, should be considered In a lengthy review of the ethical problems facing the industry, Mr. Gerson referred to the feeling in some quarters that their conditions of carriage and warehousing were oppressive to the public. As a matter of urgent policy, in the light of the current climate of opinion in politics, the provision of more equitable conditions could well be looked at if they did not do this as a matter of policy they might be compelled to act by legislation, since all governments were bound to consider public feelings.

After a number of points had been made in discussion, on the motion of the president, it was agreed that the executive committee would consider the advisability of setting up a small study group to examine the fundamentals of the association, its by-laws and terms of membership.

Revised Contract Conditions The possibility of revising the Association's contract conditions for internal and external removals was discussed in a paper read by Mr. D. W. Bishop. He thought the combined document should be relatively brief and stated that joint talks by solicitors acting for his firm and for Pick fords Ltd. had produced some condensed contract conditions applicable to internal and external removals. These had not yet been submitted to the executive committee or to counsel, hut he hoped they would be approved in due course.