Wednesday, January 25, 2017

As Road Haulage Sector Concerns Grow Over Driver Shortage One Man Illustrates What's Possible

HGV Driver Goes the Extra Mile (and Three Million More)
Shipping News Feature
UK – We have often featured the exploits of US truck drivers who regularly chalk up huge mileages in their long careers, a feat made much more plausible given the size of the country and the nature of the work. Although a million miles is fairly commonplace for road haulage drivers, it is rare for a British driver to match the achievements of Eric Tranter, an HGV driver who has been delivering concrete blocks since joining Telford based Besblock on April Fools’ Day, 1974 racking up a mileage equivalent to travelling to the moon and back 12 times, or circumnavigating the earth over 120 times!

Eric, a 72 year old grandfather of two has driven over 3 million miles in that time using nothing but his trusted AtoZ of Birmingham, circa 1977, no satnav, he doesn’t even own a mobile phone! Eric says he will continue working for a further two and a half years, when his current CPC expires. He commented:

“I’ve been driving lorries since 1965 [and] I’ve not thought about slowing down. I was brought up in a big family, I had to work hard from a young age and now I’m still doing the same for one simple reason, I should have retired seven years ago, but I have no hobbies and after I’ve done all my chores at the weekend I get bored. So I like to earn some money for my kids and grandkids.

“On the whole this is a very fair company. You have to work hard, and if you do that you’re rewarded. We have good staff here, people help each other. I work about 10 hours a day. I start at 5am, or if you’re going to London you come in at 3am. When we’re busy we’re doing 300 miles a day, or more if you’re in London. When it’s a bit quieter you do about 150. On average it’s probably about 1,500 a week, after 43 years, that’s a lot of miles.

“But I enjoy doing what I do and up until November 2015 I’d not been off once [then] I got struck down with Hepatitis E. I was the 293rd case in the UK, ever, that’s how rare it is. It’s caused by undercooked pork, shrimps, prawns or contaminated water, or even, picking up a contaminated surface. It was a terrible thing to have.

“I was off work for six weeks and it took me six months to get my strength back. There is no medication for it. The only condition was that I was told to give up drinking while I was unwell because I was warned my liver wouldn’t recover. But I’ve recovered now, so I allow myself the odd drink at the weekend.

”I’ve had some good times here, earning good money. It’s what I know.”

Photo: Eric pictured on the far right after he had received an award for 40 years of service from Besblock director Andrew Huxley in 2014.