IOC News - 2009

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2009 December


    Vince Friery FIoC Swift Despatch has managed to expand 5% year on year, which whilst this is a slow down for him it actually feels like record growth when you consider the unprecedented challenging economic climate we are in. With such a broad client base Swift tend to consider themselves fairly recession proof but the past year has put everything to the test and with the exception of Government spending there is hardly a sector untouched by the downturn.

    Carl Lomas takes a look at the NEC Bike show Birmingham, what no Honda? Thats recession but more of it is currency, European motorbikes doing well overseas while Japanese machines cost goes up against values of the pound. Have we ever seen so many zero interest deals but will they give them to couriers? Who would have believed Norton to return to the English bike market? Not quite courier machinery but you can't help thinking we are going to see a few of those machines in the controllers car park.

Postal Strike Opinion

    'Local postal action is not having a major impact on the industry or businesses, but a National Strike certainly would' says Fellow Len Rainford FFIoC, Sameday UK 'Especially as we are approaching the Christmas period.' Fellows of the IoC have voiced their opinions about the problem the postal strikes cause both the public and commerical businesses. Delays due to the late delivery of mail, eg cheques arriving late can impact on cash flow but at the same time email invoicing has increased with the use of electronic transfere where possible.

    Fellow Trevor Hoyle FIoC, FedEx comments 'In respective of the postal strike it appears the unions are prepared to commit commercial suicide, email is slowly killing letter post. The
    post office needs to adapt rapidly and become competitive in order to survive'. Many comerical businesses will use a dual source and courier companies will actively support them through the strike. Although courier companies can offer a dedicated service the price is often restrictive,especially for the general public. Most of the majors like TNT DHL and Business Post now offer a bulk mail service at cheaper rates than Royal Mail but in the main they still feed into the Royal Mail system for the end delivery and a National Strike would have a major impact on this.

    The result of Postal Strike action has and will continue to have a major impact on businesses and though overall the courier industry could benefit, which although bringing in much needed revenue, it is a sad situation for the national postal service.

    What is your opinion? email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2009 November

Courier Clothing at NEC Bike Show 27th November to 6th December

    Always the key shopping ground for winter courier clothing the UK's big event is steaming ahead and on track for a late November opening. (27th November - 6th December). Ian Kerr reports however, it is not without its worries with first Honda announcing it would not be attending and now Harley-Davidson and Buell UK having come to the decision not to exhibit either. Both major companies, who traditionally take some of the biggest exhibition space, cite the decision is a result of the increased focus on multi-location experiential programmes for consumers in 2009 which they see as more beneficial for the money spent!

2009 October

eCourier wins £400K grant from the Technology Strategy Board

    Every eCourier’s position every ten seconds is stored in what they call a massive data warehouse. eCourier and their customers use this information daily to track couriers and to enable “Snail Trail” discoveries of past courier movements, but they also use it to try and improve Larry’s travel time predictions. eCourier have over 390 million positions stored so far! Now they have received government funding in the form of a £400K grant from the TSB to use this data to improve travel time forecasts and routes in London and for other applications.

DSA official guide to the new Competent Driver Certificate (CPC)

        The overnight, international and multi drop arm of the courier industry will be affected by these new rules for drivers.

        Every courier company should read this publication to properly comply with the new law. Driving Standards Agency (DSA) have published the book to provided essential preparation for the new Driver CPC.

    If you are a fleet or transport manager you need a copy of Driver CPC - the Official DSA Guide for Professional Goods Vehicle Drivers (ISBN 9780115530012, £9.99).  This expert guide is written by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) - the government people who set the tests. This publication has been specifically designed to help LGV drivers prepare for their initial Driver CPC by focusing on the syllabus of the two new modules: Case Studies and the Practical Demonstration Test.  A guide to understanding a driver's work for CPC Modules 2 and 4, this DSA book provides essential preparation for the newly launched Driver CPC. This book complements The Official DSA Guide to Driving Goods Vehicles (ISBN 9780115528996, £17.50), which provides all of the detailed information required by drivers to obtain - and retain - their Driver CPC qualification.

2009 September

    Bike Test Fiasco! Future couriers - numbers down. The new motorcycle riding test fiasco which started in April, has resulted in trainees suffering injuries whilst attempting the 'swerve test', calling for it to be banned. After a lot of protests from all sectors of the training and motorcycle industry the Government has finally launched an official inquiry!

    Ian Kerr reports, its not the whole story. In some ways the bike test fiasco is not as important as the imposing restrictions on their way from Europe for the year 2013. Without getting too technical about all the various options, the changes could mean that learner riders may lose the right to ride unaccompanied and then have to go through various stages to get to ride a full bore sports bike. This would mean that they would need to find a qualified instructor each time they wanted to go for a ride until they passed their test, effectively killing the small bike market. If it becomes too difficult to get a licence people won't bother, potentially resulting in a big down turn in new bikers.

    Bike Courier Saftey. Latest UK Government figures for road casualties in 2008 have recently been published, they show a very positive downtrend for motorcycle fatalities and injuries. (Department for Transport. Transport Statistics Bulletin: Road Casualties in Great Britain - Main Results 2008) This document is always a year behind, but shows that almost a hundred fewer motorcyclists were killed on Britain's roads in 2008 compared to the previous year. The official figures now show that over the same period motorcycle use has increased over 44 per cent, which put another way, mile-for-mile, motorcycling is becoming safer. This good news is backed up when looked at in percentage terms, 16% in the number of motorcycle fatalities is a greater reduction than for all road users. The Institute of Couriers believes that this welcome fall is a result of many organisations working together and recognising the vulnerability of motorcyclists as well as better rider training and safer machines.

2009 August

IoC President Viscount Falkland requests feelings on the Segway two wheeler.

    I have been pushing the Dept of Transport to do something about the Segway. I would like to know whether the Courier Industry has any interest in the side by side two wheeler. Police and others would like to use it if and when it is legal to do so as in most other countries. Feedback through the IoC would be most appreciated. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alistair Cochrane FIoC , Director of Operations, TNT Express Services UK Fellow of the Institute of Couriers shares his thoughts on the industry.
    The business-to-business express courier market is a barometer of the UK economy and, as the recession has bitten deeper, so the express sector has seen a substantial downturn in volumes and consequently in revenues. It is very much a case of the survival of the fittest, with more emphasis than ever before on delivering real value for money and a great customer experience. In shrinking domestic and international markets, the best run express companies will gain market share which will be the catalyst for the less efficient operators to go into decline. The inevitable outcome will be greater consolidation and the weakest players going out of business.

Helmet choice evermore confusing: Ian Kerr reports on another controversy which has been highlighted regarding the UK Government's SHARP crash helmet testing scheme. Now with an acknowledged expert in the field, a Dr Nigel Mills of Birmingham University, having recently published a very critical review of the system and calling for it to be totally scrapped due to the many flaws in the evaluation system being used. Considering it was supposed to make the consumers life easier so bike couriers could see the true worth and protection level of the helmet, it has just complicated the matter even further with nobody knowing what to believe!


2009 July

Strike! Friday 17th

    "Buisness as usual for the sameday courier industry, we will not let our clients down." says Carl Lomas MBE Chairman fo the Institute of Couriers. Postal Staff at Royal Mail will stage a 24 hour strike this Friday (July 17th), announced by the Communication Workers Union (CWU). The union states, the industrial action is in response to modernisation plans, which it claims will lead to job loss and reduced services.

    Thousands of workers are preparing to take part in the strike UK wide. CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said the strike has been called because "pressure and stress is at breaking point" for Royal Mail employees. "We have renewed our offer of a three month no-strike deal to Royal Mail in return for meaningful talks over modernisation," he explained, adding that the organisation has not negotiated with staff over plans to introduce machinery or redesign deliveries.

    During a recent meeting of the House of Commons business and enterprise committee, ADNFCR-8000176-ID-19264800-ADNFCRBusiness secretary Lord Mandelson stated that the CWU should "accept the need for change"

Keep service level up and costs down. Len Rainford sits for 2010 panel.

    Len Rainford FFIoC, founding fellow of the IoC and boss of Sameday UK comments on the state of the logistics sector. ‘Business is up and down at the moment, but overall down on last year as most couriers seem to be, having talked to several. However there are signs that some sectors are picking up. There is a lot of uncertainty  and the biggest problem is cash flow with the biggest companies taking longer and longer to pay which has a knock on effect right down the line. We just have to keep going, keep the costs down and keep service levels up. Len Rainford returns to the panel of judges for the 2010 National Courier Awards and brings a true national view of the courier industry to the table which will choose the best of the best UK couriers for the decade year of the new millennia.

Summer conditions Pink in London.

    Clifford Jordan FFIoC of Pink Express comments on economic courier conditions in London. ‘I think everybody in the central London market has seen a downturn, we've noticed our passenger car business particularly badly hit. The recent media stories concerning courier companies ripping off clients or offering 'joke prices' is doing our industry no favours to say the least. At Pink we are concentrating on running the business as efficiently as possible. Working hard on sales is the way forward.’

2009 June

    National Courier Awards Judge announcement. Marc Chauveau FFIoC, Chairman of the National Courier Awards Judging Panel is delighted to announce the first judge for 2010 Mr Richard Howard FIoC. Richard is honoured to take the place of the late Judy Benn FFIoC who sadly was lost to us all in February 2009. Richard represents the APC network and has twenty years experience in the courier sameday, overnight and international industry. Marc comments "This coming year will test all courier companies, as a core industry to the supply of all other industries we will have to be at the top of our game. This brings out the best in all our staff and this will reflect in the high standard of nominations that the judges will have both the pleasure and difficult task of judging. I am pleased to welcome Richard to the judging panel". The full panel of judges will be announced in January 2010.

2009 May

The Budget-A Personal View. Andrew Bernard FFIoC, Chief Executive CitySprint

    Now that the impact of the budget has become clearer after the Chancellor’s delivery, a number of points are becoming clear. The scale of the funding problem facing the UK is beyond anything seen in peacetime before. Having built a significant deficit during the good years, government finances are now being hit by a triple whammy of bank bailout costs, falling tax revenues and uncontrolled public spending. The country will eventually have to deal with a ballooning deficit through a combination of spending reduction and increased taxes. As a first step, the Government has decided to increase taxes on the highest paid. While this may seem fair to some, it will not by itself solve the UK’s problems. On the contrary, it may well make things worse if mobile, successful businesses choose to move, or keep their tax revenues and employment away from the UK.

    For our sector, we have limited options to move away from the UK as we are dependent on the UK economy for our livelihoods and our business. Therefore the options to courier businesses are very limited. Just pay the taxes and hope it doesn’t get worse, but adjust your infrastructure to the current market trading levels as these are what we should get used to.

    This budget is a huge disappointment to entrepreneurs and wealth creators who see their efforts wasted on a bloated State sector.

    Practical wheels for the courier. Steady on Yamaha. Budget ink still wet in the red box and Yamaha bring talk of practical wheels for the bike courier. Road race replica R Us in days long lost from the time of the CX500, Kawasaki GT550 and RS250 Honda single that delivered the courier through the eighties. News in from Yamaha of a two fifty single, practical and economical. Institute Of Couriers have asked Ian Kerr for a true review but meanwhile here is what Yamaha says.

    The YBR250 has been available in Europe before, however it’s only now, following on from customer demand, that Yamaha have decided to introduce it into their model line up for this year. Imported in limited numbers, this stylish single cylinder 250 four-stroke motorcycle is the perfect answer for those riders who like geared bikes, but also want to bridge the gap between a 125 and 600cc machinery. The YBR250 is economical, attracts low insurance premiums, is easy to ride and with its comtempory design, has a low seat height (805mm) too. This model will be available in silver or black and is in authorised Yamaha dealer’s showrooms now.

    Expansion of SfL Board. Four new people have joined the Skills for Logistics, sector skills council for frieght logistics industries. SfL welcome such a varied industry experience to their board. Brigadier Alistair Deas of Defence College of Logistics, Perry Glading of Port of Tilbury, Andy Lawrence of David Maxim Haulage and D Maxim Logistics Ltd, and Kevin Mack of Company Moves Ltd all join the organisation rince Charles has spoken out


2009 April

    Prince Charles Carbon Transport Talks from Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Prince Charles has spoken out to transport and business leaders in Brazil, saying that the world has only 100 months to act before the damage caused by global warming becomes irreversible.

    Dr Mick Jackson, FIoC Chief Executive of SfL, comments “ The science is proven and cannot be denied. In the UK our whole way of life is necessarily serviced by deliveries made by commercial vehicles which, although operating efficiently and improving fast, we are still responsible for substantial pollution. Pollution which must be contained and reduced as we hopefully climb out of recession and, inevitably, increase vehicle mileage.

2009 March

    New Driver Regulation The new legislation that has been in the coming for a long time is set to start 10th September 2009. Training of individuals that are in or wish to be in the courier industry started with the NVQ level 2 which was created by the courier industry for the courier industry. Courier Companies take a serious view of improving driving efficiency and this legislation will sit easily with their ethos. Many companies already chose to provide further on the job driver training and the new legislation will confirm what they are already doing.

    The Driver CPC regulations come into force from 10th September 2009 and require drivers in possession of a vocational driving licence to undergo a minimum of 35 hours training over a five year period involving approved courses of a minimum of seven hours duration. For more details visit


2009 February

Judy Benn Founding Fellow of the Institute of Couriers

    Sad news of the death of one of the Institutes Founding Fellows. Judy Benn suffered a heart attack on Friday 13 th February and passed away. She was only 53 years of age and leaves behind her husband, Norman. She has worked for Richard Howard at Post Haste a good many years and will be sorely missed. Richard comments, ‘She was a true lady’.

    Judy had courier industry in her blood, a well known figure in the National Courier Association and the APC network, herself a National Courier Award winner. In recent years she joined the panel of judges for the National Courier Awards. IOC Chairman Carl Lomas comments ‘The industry will miss her. Judy championed the courier on every occasion, as both a founding fellow and a judge of the National Courier Awards Judy was widely respected for quality and excellence at the very top of our industry.’

    The funeral is for close friends and family. No flowers, donations to the British Heart foundation, contact Post Haste director Geoff Morland on: 0207 2942018.


2009 January - Happy New Year!

National Courier Awards 2010.

    The date for the next industry awards has been set for Tuesday September 14th, 2010. The venue will be the Insitute of Directors, Pall Mall, London. Carl Lomas MBE Chairman of the IoC comments 'The IoC is proud to host the National Courier Awards but we are sensitive to the opinions of those professionals who work in the industry. Companies are being cautious and ensuring that all areas of the business are lean and cost efficient. Companies large and small want to apply their energies to the business in hand and the National Courier Awards will showcase the sucesses at the awards to be held in September 2010'.

    For further details click on National Courier Awards. or further inquiry please email the secretary Tracey at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.