Retailers, suppliers and hauliers will have fewer than six months to prepare for the road transport directive by the time they find out what it contains, the Freight Transport Association has warned.
If the directive is implemented in full, the haulage industry will have to find 60,000 new drivers and substantially increase pay rates to existing drivers, added the Road Haulage Association.
It will also mean more trucks, more cash spent on training, reduced productivity if some shifts are switched to daytime, and an estimated bill of £3.79bn in 2005 alone, added the association.
The directive, which comes into effect in March 2005, brings drivers of goods vehicles under the scope of the Working Time Directive, which limits them to an average 48-hour working week, a maximum of 60 hours in a single week and a proposed 10-hour cap on nightshifts. However, the draft regulations probably won’t come through until May, with the final version unlikely to be published until the autumn, said FTA policy manager Joan Williams. “It takes time to recruit new drivers, buy more lorries, re-schedule shifts and possibly change infrastructure. Anything less than six months and we’re in trouble.”
Tesco distribution and supply chain HR director Roger Roberts said it was difficult to plan without knowing the directive’s details.
“However, analysis of our drivers’ working hours shows that most work within the proposed Working Time Directive limits. Our focus is on improving our drivers’ ways of working to produce less non-driving time and therefore their overall productivity.”
Somerfield logistics director Martin Oakes said compliance costs would be “significant”.
>>See feature, p36