Dispatch News - 2010

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Gowning of New Fellows at theHouse of Lords, Westminster December 2010


More than a hundred leaders in the Same-day Courier Industry met at the House of Lords. Outside students warmed themselves on the icy streets of Westminster to demonstrate for the education bill while insidefellows of the Institute made traditional line to witness five of the industries leaders gowned by Viscount Falkland President of the Institute of Couriers marking the 2010 fellowship ceremony that ended with a Christmas reception.

President of the Institute of Couriers, Viscount Falkland gowned Grant Cochrane FIoC and John Fitzgerald FIoC of TNT, Michael O'Connell FIoC of DHL, John Nolan FIoC of UK Mail and Brian Wheadon FIoC of Yodel. IOC Chairman Carl Lomas MBE welcomed the new fellows who then stood in tradition of the gowning event to walk the line of fellows for their introduction to gowns. Marc Cheaueauv, former chair of the National Courier Awards panel of judges welcomed his replacement for 2011 and introduced Richard Howard of Rush Couriers.

Bob Russett Master of the Worshipful Company of Carmen and former RHA Chairman spoke of the encouragement that the Fellows of the IoC gave to all in the industry. 'Fellows of the IoC lead, set the pace and make sure everyone is given the opportunity to keep up and that means improved standards of service and provision'.

Former Lord Mayor of London Sir David Brewer was delighted to comment 'they (transport industry) are the link and an essential foundation to all our businesses'. Norman Baker MP Under Secretary of State for Transport, speaker at the National Courier Awards passed his congratulations to the new Fellows. 'The IoC is key to innovation and promotion of all safety aspects within our industry and supports all those that aim to improve their skills and standards of service. Leaders of the industry are rightly recognised for the part they play.'

July 2010

Biker accident Rate down. Government action on Rider Test problems.

Ian Kerr brings good news for July and some that may even give you some faith in politicians!

Recently released UK Government figures show that deaths of all road users dropped by 12%. More importantly for the motorcyclist, fatal and serious injury motorcycle casualties fell to 20,703, or put another way showed a fall of 4% in 2009 despite a 2% rise in bike traffic. Actual fatalities dropped from 493 to 472 and serious injuries fell from 5556 to 5350. So good news there followed by an announcement that the motorcycle test is to be reviewed following all the recent problems we have often highlighted through IOC and in Dispatch News reports.

In keeping with pre-election promises, the new Transport Minister, Mike Penning MP has ordered a review of the two-part test which was introduced in April 2009 as a result of European regulations.

After a specially convened meeting involving the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA) along with rider groups MAG and BMF and after visiting a test centre to look at the testing procedure in more detail, he has ordered that a full scale review be carried out. In doing so he has also asked for input from IOC and all motorcyclists. The review will look at the manoeuvres carried out in both modules, the first being the off-road test and the second on-road part of the test to see whether these manoeuvres could safely be conducted as part of the on-road test.

The review will also look at other related motorcycle testing and training issues, including the options for training and testing for progressive access under the third European driving licence directive which will come into being in 2013. Hopefully this will prevent a repeat of the confusion and loss of jobs, not to mention lack of test take-up that has happened recently.

Despite this breakthrough, the MCIA have also urged the new government to take more notice of the motorcycle industry and have used a recent independent report to show how it contributes to the UK economy. Motorcycle couriers are not forgotten.

Motorcycle support services, that includes couriers, leasing, publishing, insurance, and training contributes £940 million in Gross Added Value to the UK economy.
An analysis of the hire and leasing sector suggests that this sector alone has an annual turnover of around £38 million, just over half of which is estimated to be GVA (£20 million).

Another big sector is still the motorcycle courier industry which despite the internet, still has an annual turnover of almost £800 million, with added value of over half of that at £480 million providing employment for 20,000 people. It is also estimated to provide a tax contribution of almost £200 million and so it goes on.

April 2010

Renault’s launch of the Master

    Renault has just launched, or should it be re-launched, their latest gestation of the largest vehicle in their commercial van fleet – the Master. A quick external look shows it has undergone a major revamp on the styling front, although this has been done without destroying its obvious Renault heritage.

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   At the front new bold styling dominates with a large grille and new headlights, built in bumper steps to allow the screen to be cleaned emphasises a bold muscular approach to load carrying. New headlights and wrap around bumpers (and protective side mouldings) go with this, as does a new larger rear light set-up with three triangular stop lights.

    Despite the obvious external changes, it is internally in the cab that the biggest change has taken place with a move to provide car style passenger comfort for the driver and any crew. Renault claims that this new interior will become the benchmark against which others are judged.

    Certainly storage will no longer be a problem for those who require the cabin to be an office as well, with every inch of space being utilised with neat storage solutions for paperwork and even the ubiquitous bottle of water and plug for the MP3 player.

    There is now a useful rotating lap-top table in the middle of the seats, with concealed storage for said item in the top of the dash, which now incorporates a clever retractable A4 clip board. As a result the Sat Nav, which is now a standard feature as opposed to an option, moves to the centre of the windscreen just above eye level.

    Work has also been done on the seating and general style and layout which has been brought up to levels that would disgrace a saloon car from 5 years ago. An option of a suspension seat is available for very high mileage drivers who need the extra comfort levels.

    Power for the new range comes from a new 2.3 dCi engine which comes with a choice of three power outputs (100,125 an 150hp) all with six –speed gearboxes. It may be 200cc smaller than before, but a lot of work has been done to ensure that it delivers torque where it is needed as well as being more fuel efficient and it also now has maintenance free chain drive to the camshaft.

    The engine is mounted as before transversally, but the biggest news there is the option of a rear wheel drive version with a longitudinally mounted power-plant. This change to a rear wheel drive option has allowed Renault to offer a fourth length to their long list of options. The customer can now choose between four lengths, three heights and there are twelve carrying capacities, definitely something for everyone whatever the business! (They actually claim there are 350 possible configurations!)

    The rear wheel drive and additional length also has the benefit of offering more scope for those who wish to convert the van for other uses such a motor-homes, thus taking things a stage further. At the front pseudo Macpherson-type suspension with an anti-roll bar takes car of the ride, with a single leaf spring at the rear. The latter becomes dual leafs for the rear wheel drive version and gets a further leaf when it moves to twin rear wheels versions.

    Braking comes from 302mm ventilated discs at the front and 305mm solid items at the rear with ABS and emergency braking assist. ESP is standard on the rear wheel drive versions and optional on others.

    Space in the rear is as good as it always was with little of the monocoque construction affecting loading. In fact this method of construction actually helps increase payload due to its lighter weight, while providing a good overall rigid structure. As one might expect there are a host of other changes including improved aerodynamics and Renault actually claim a cut of 28% in running costs compared to the previous or existing versions. Or as they put it a saving of £1,000 over four years or 90,000 miles.

    From a driving perspective the vehicle is now very comfortable with good all-round visibility, with well positioned rear view mirrors and the engineering work in this department really shows when sitting in the now raised driving seat.

    The cab is comfortable and user friendly, although it must be said that the high mounting of the Sat Nav does mean you have to avert your eyes from the road ahead, which was not always prudent on the tighter going of the test route!

    On the twisty country roads around Nice, there was little to split the front and wheel drive versions when talking about handling and the engine was just spot on in terms of power delivery and smoothness. However, the gearbox on the front wheel drive was noticeably smoother in operation.

    Overall though, even the largest and longest of the range was a pleasure to drive and far from hard work, thanks to the thought that has gone into this new design. Although several hundred Km’s is not a lot, given the terrain it did prove that if you had to live day in and day out with this vehicle delivering and use the cab as an office it was more than competent at both disciplines.

    These new Masters (like other commercial vans) will be sold through the new Renault Pro + network that have been designed for the business user. Essentially these are a one stop shop contained within a normal dealer with extended opening hours, dedicated business servicing facilities and a member of staff available purely for the business user to avoid queuing and time off the road.

    Having had the chance to look around one, these new dealers, it should make owning a Renault van of any description quite a painless experience. Coupled with their new range it is clear that Renault will continue to lead the commercial vehicle market in Western Europe as they have done for the past twelve years and I can see why!

    Written for Despatch News by Ian Kerr

March 2010

IoC Chairman Carl Lomas stumbled across a Deep South story that makes any courier proud to deliver.

    Its not Next Day delivery at the South Pole! Argentineans, oil and BBC bring Southern Earth into latest news but it’s the couriers who deliver it. Southern most courier office on Earth is run by Allison Ward and a dedicated team at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

    This zone of the World comes under DHL Offshore Island control under Dennis McCarthy in England. Allison’s team operate the franchise held by the Local Chamber of Commerce for DHL. Over the last ten years consignments have grown from five shipments a week to over a hundred clearing a thousand kilos a go. ‘Internet has driven the economy down here, oil and technology. Cable and Wireless liberated the use of internet in the Islands and deliveries took off'

    North bound deliveries are also a vital Island link. Consignments of documents for fishing control and licensing, wool documentation, meat and cattle export papers all go by courier.

    It’s a single flight dependency location, that’s one bike on the road by London standards. Routing is via Santiago, capital of Chile then internal on the LAN flights for Punta Arenas, most Southern City of the World before the four hundred mile flight out to Falklands, Stanley. Thursday mid day cut off Santiago for Saturday morning deliveries and a break for the weekend. If the flights are tourist laden then luggage gets priority and courier weight is held back. ‘When it’s really urgent we can always get it in’ says Allison.

    Updated nautical charts for Deep South fishing vessels come through the courier office for vessels in the Antarctic waters of the South Pole. The small Dash Seven British Antarctic Survey plane makes the last leg to the South Pole. Telecoms equipment and engineering parts are common place for research scientists on the South Pole camps.

    This is the courier team who make lives different. Christmas is not the same without them. Bird Island, check that on your World globe, resident scientists bagged their Christmas cake courtesy of Allison and their team Christmas Eve just in time for Santa. Whale Bone samples and reindeer testing materials are a little more the norm.

    North bound science deliveries have included help to the Smithsonian Institute research teams from all islands of South Georgia. Restricted exports, paperwork quirky as you like, Spanish language in the courier office a great help for the Punta Arenas link.

    Social aspects of courier work in the Falklands are part of customer service. One couple landed Stanley from a cruise ship to be married. No birth certificate no marriage, Best man, best courier. Its Allison’s team that did a full rush to fly in the birth certificates for the special day. Northern Europe to Falklands and just in time to say ‘I do’ that’s courier with a deadline. Special delivery wedding dresses are the norm and done proper, not even a peep for the groom when he signs for the box.

    Big community involvement by the team down here. Feb 2010, DHL team member Charlotte Middleton carried the baton for the World Commonwealth games on its route through the Falkland Islands. Allison her self heads up the Islands Cancer Charity and her husband is a governor of the Deep Sea fishing Mission.

    Dedication, involvement and persistance is needed to make the deliveries happen this far south and Island Sports is an important summer festival day. DHL get's the jockey to the starting line, delivery race to get the prize jockey his protective hat in matching colours just in time for the big race.

    Serious stuff includes deliveries for the de mining projects on the Islands. Military fly out of Brize Norton direct via Ascension but there is no civilian priority. DHL have made this their land, southern most courier office on Earth with a team of top couriers and proud to do it.


Last modified on Sunday, 11 October 2015 16:02