Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Freight Handling and Road Haulage Games Breed for the Long Term

Two Examples of Longevity in Man and Machinery
Shipping News Feature

UK - US – Life for the driver of a big rig out on the road is something that demands both intelligence and stamina if one wishes to survive in the profession over time. For the machinery which handles the thousands of tonnes of freight which pass through a busy warehouse, the going can be even harder than the life of a road haulage professional and recently we have heard of two cases where longevity of both man and machine have proved exceptional in their respective roles within the logistics trade.

In 1977 conveyor manufacturer Geo Robson took the important investment step of buying a Jungheinrich reach truck for their Sheffield works. The electric-powered Jungheinrich ETVQ20 multi directional truck was cutting edge technology for the time and was needed for the arduous task of unloading incoming deliveries of the heavy steel component parts used in the production of the bulk material handling conveyor systems for which Geo Robson is renowned.

The truck was additionally tasked with shuttling finished goods around the site from the factory to the store for onward delivery to clients and, for over an astounding thirty five years, it has continued to do so causing works manager, Stuart Cain, to comment:

“The truck is in operation every day of the week and has always been highly reliable. At Geo Robson we take pride in the reliability and quality engineering of our products and we look for suppliers with the same ethos. If the time ever comes to replace our ‘old faithful’ truck I am sure Jungheinrich will be the first company we turn to.”

We are used to hearing tales of long serving drivers who regularly ply the US highways, given the size of the territory it is comparably easy to cover some huge distances over a period of time. A couple of months ago we heard of the exceptional case of Howard Williams, who started his career as a commercial freight driver way back in 1971.

In 1986, Howard joined his present company, Con-way Truckload, and recently passed an astonishing milestone few will equal when he recorded his 3 millionth, accident free mile, whilst driving professionally. Howard has covered all 48 contiguous United States and Canada in his long career and prompted boss, Saul Gonzalez, president of Con-way Truckload, to say:

"Safety is our number one priority at Con-way and I want to personally congratulate and thank Howard for his commitment to safe driving. Three million miles without an incident is a significant achievement and we are proud to have drivers who continually strive for excellence."

The man himself, who lives in Bronaugh, Missouri with his wife and three children when not out on the road, likes a game of golf and offered the following advice to any who would emulate his feat:

"If I can offer any tips to the younger drivers out there, it would be to keep your mind and your eyes on the drive. It's also important to take care when planning your route and doing the pre-trip inspection. Keep focused and when you're not driving, go out and do something fun."

Photo: Geo Robson’s trusty Jungheinrich shifts another load.