In recent months we've had Gregory Distribution and Lenham Storage both warning that the situation in regards rates, and the pressure bearing down on them, is as acute as it's ever been.

Talking to another operator recently, The Hub was interested to hear that another way rate pressure was manifesting itself is through FTAs - no, not the Freight Transport Association but rather the 'Failed To Arrive' tag now being banded about liberally by the big five supermarkets.

While the operator in question is not untypical in not charging a surcharge for any waiting around they have to do to access their delivery points, the supermarkets are - like a frenzied traffic warden in a city centre - getting a bit slap happy in regards issuing FTAs - triggered in situations where perhaps an item is found to be damaged, which leads to the entire load being rejected at the point of delivery.

The transport company then gets word from their (supplier) client that they have been slapped with an FTA, which is a significant issue when it's £150 and they're ultimately going to have to pass it on to you (in one form or another). All the time the operator continues to deliver on a margin as thin as £1.50 a pallet, leaving no scope to absorb penalties such as this.