As 2014 draws to a close, looks back at the stories you wanted to read. There were shocks, surprises and startling revalations galore in the road transport industry, but what were the ten stories that attracted the most attention? Here's a clue: Seafield, Stobart and shortages dominated...

1) Lomas Distribution takes on collapsed Seafield’s Winsford site

Richard Lomas, MD of Lomas Distribution, voiced his delight at being able to secure the Winsford-based warehousing business of collapsed haulier Seafield Logistics saving jobs in the process. This following Abbey Logistics successful deal for much of the failed business’s bulk powder operations. Seafield was the major collapse of the year

Eddie Stobart Logistics

Eddie Stobart Logistics went private in 2014

2) Stobart Group sells 51% stake in Eddie Stobart to former TDG owners

Years of relentless PR, TV programmes, corporate shake-ups, boardroom shocks, acquisitions and share price fluctuations resulted in this: Stobart Group selling a 51% stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics to Douglasbay Capital for £280.8m. LSE-listed Stobart Group retained a 49% share, and control of the Eddie Stobart brand via a licencing agreement.

3) Driver shortage could see above inflation pay-rises for HGV drivers

Concerns over the driver shortage and continuing growth in the economy could lead to above-inflation pay rises during 2015, the Freight Transport Association suggested. Research conducted by the organisation suggested that driver wages have started to show signs of rising by 2.3%, way above inflation, as employers felt the impact of wage freezes during the recession.

4) The Hub: Driver shortage about to bite

This guest-post on our business blog The Hub, by Phill Brooks, general manager of Farrall’s Transport, tapped into the zeitgeist warning that the shortage of lorry drivers in the UK threatened to impede UK economic growth.

“If goods can’t be moved or businesses have to pay more to get work done then the broader supply chain sector will be hit hard,” wrote Brooks. “We will also see the subcontractor database diminish as operators go out of business.”

drivers licence

A drivers' licence

5) Drivers have HGV licences revoked

In one of the major legal cases of the year, twelve former drivers at North Cumbria haulage firm Ross International had their HGV licences revoked in September after they used various devices to falsify their driving records.

6) Eddie Stobart on course to go private in April

One of the shocks of the year (see above) was Stobart going private, which this story from April confirmed, in a £280.8m deal with Douglasbay Capital for a 51% stake in the firm.

7) Seafield Logistics in administration broke the news first that Seafield Logistics had entered administration in June, with the bulk powder business being sold to Abbey Logistics, and the warehousing business was sold to Lomas Distribution.

8) Scania to supply 1,500 Euro-6 trucks to Eddie Stobart and AW Jenkinson

Worried about Euro-6? Not at Stobart and Jenkinson’s, whose joint-procurement deal goes from strength to strength. This deal in January saw the pair take 1,500 Euro-6 Scania’s during 2014 and 2015, and is the third in a series of mega-buys, the first of which was conducted in 2010.

9) Driver CPC exposes recruitment challenge road transport faces, says FTA

Concerns over the availability of drivers dominated thoughts in 2014, and this warning on Driver CPC deadline day in September hinted at troubles to come in the Christmas peak. James Firth, FTA’s head of road freight and enforcement policy, said at the time: “The deadline highlights a more fundamental problem of driver supply in the future,” adding that the cost of getting a new HGV licence, the cost of insuring young drivers and the negative image of the profession would preclude young people from pursuing a career in the sector.

10) Employers to face action if drivers don’t complete Driver CPC

In July the warning came that employers, not just their employees, will find themselves before Britain’s traffic commissioners (TCs) if drivers have not completed their periodic training by September 2014.

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