DMN Group is warning against the use of illegal vehicle transporters, following news of a Wiltshire Police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Enforcement campaign to take unsafe vehicles off the road.

The Birmingham-based inspection and single-vehicle delivery company said this week that, without adequate vetting, businesses are in danger of hiring logistics providers who overload transporters, are not properly insured, do not have tachographs fitted, and do not have the correct operator licences.

According to a report by campaign group Transport and Environment, overloading of heavy goods vehicles is a significant problem. One in three checked vehicles is overloaded, often by 10 to 20%,the report found.

DMN is warning that overweight trucks have a negative impact on road safety, road degradation, environment and fair competition and that unlicensed vehicle logistics providers also pose a significant risk to businesses.

Nick Chadaway, DMN Logistics managing director, said, “With the pressure to cuts costs, businesses may look for ways of reducing transport costs but employing unlicensed logistics companies or overloading vehicles is a false economy.

“Businesses must vet their provider of choice carefully, because if involved in an accident, it may void the insurance, leaving businesses out of pocket or in an expensive legal case.

“Reputable vehicle logistics providers must be employed to maintain road safety and reduce any risk to the client, especially as the number of EVs continues to rise, the likelihood of unregulated and unlicensed providers being legally able to transport a load greater than this safely becomes unlikely.”

Chadaway highlighted several examples where a load may become illegal:

•           With the lightest bodied 3.5t single-car transporters being restricted to a maximum carrying capacity of circa 1,650 kg, however, most EVs and ICE SUV’s are over this weight.

•           4x4 dual-purpose vehicles with a single-car trailer require a tachograph as a minimum. However, if the towing vehicle has a manufactures kerb weight greater than 2,040 kg then it will also then require an operator’s licence. Few new dual-cab 4x4s achieve this minimum weight. With the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hi-Lux and SsangYong Musso Double cab all over this weight and with the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi L200 no longer available to purchase new, Chataway said the choice of vehicles is very limited if you do not run on an operator’s licence.

•           If a vehicle transporter is over 3.5 GVW, or if towing a trailer that brings the train weight over 3.5t, the vehicle logistics provider needs a goods vehicle operator’s license and tachograph, while the driver also requires a C1 driver’s licence and a vocational driver CPC.

He added: “Fleet managers must become aware of the requirements needed to obtain an operator’s license so that they are better equipped to make an informed decision when choosing a reputable logistics company.

“To qualify to have an operator’s licence, the provider must apply to the vehicle operator’s licence service and complete a very detailed application, including appointing a transport manager who holds a certificate in professional competency in national/international road haulage operations; have sound financial standing (proof required); have a suitable operating base, ongoing contracted or in-house maintenance and agreed periodic PMI checks. The transport manager and directors of the business must be of good repute.

Chadaway continued: “Vehicle logistics providers must prove that all of these factors are in place and that there is continual and effective management on both the fleet and drivers. The transport manager also needs to have documented ongoing personal continued development in goods vehicle operations and legislation.

“So, we highly recommend you ask your supplier to confirm the above, as a reputable operator will have all of them in place and the correct level of vehicle insurance.”