Week-in, week-out, the team of reporters, technical writers, and editors that work for Motor Transport are out there talking to people at all levels of the industry, and in government departments, to bring you the most relevant, up-to-date and compelling content.
Asked to share their personal highlights of 2012, the journalists at Motor Transport give you an insight into the world of reporting on the road transport industry:
Steve Hobson, editor: “My 2012 highlight was finally seeing the fruits of the Driver CPC -Make it Work campaign which we launched in 2011; during 2012 the Driving Standards Agency came in and took charge of the approval of training centres. While there are still flaws in the system, it is a lot more robust. I also think that the debate about the merits of Driver CPC that has raged in MT all year has helped raise awareness of the September 2014 deadline and maybe that is the most important aspect of our coverage.
“I also think that the interviews MT carried with APC, City Link and Yodel marked a turning point for the B2C parcels carriers; they all put a marker in the sand to say enough is enough for online retailers expecting the delivery companies to move heaven and earth to cope with the Christmas peak for the price of a cappuccino. Hopefully next year rates will better reflect costs, and the parcels sector as a whole will return to profit.”
Ashleigh Wight, trainee reporter: “I joined the team in August so starting my journalistic career is a major highlight of the year, along with getting my first features and news stories in Commercial Motor and Motor Transport. My first feature to appear in print was a drinks sector report looking at how deliveries had been diversified when operators had switched to night-time deliveries. Over the past few months I have learned a great deal about the industry and have enjoyed engaging with our readers.”
Chris Druce, deputy group news editor: “Editing the show daily paper at 2012’s Commercial Vehicle Show at Birmingham’s NEC was the whirlwind expected. Exhausting but satisfying, and it was good to see that the show itself was back on good form, with a wealth of exhibitors.
“It’s been interesting to see Skills for Logistics working up a head of steam with new, worthwhile initiatives including a military recruitment drive, and its logistics guild and occupational skills group, all suggesting a golden era for skills provision.
“This was also the Olympic summer, something that has dominated my time on MT since joining in 2011 and which I recently capped with an interview with UPS as they conclude their London 2012 logistics provider role.”
Laura Hailstone, group content editor: “My personal highlight was partnering with Transport for London at the start of 2012 to hold an Olympic planning conference in March. In a very short timeframe, we put together a full day’s agenda of compelling speakers and content that helped our readers understand what they needed to do to plan and prepare for the impact the Olympics were going to have on deliveries. The feedback from the event was amazing and I was really proud to have been put in charge of my very first conference and pull it off successfully!
“Another highlight was being summoned by senior traffic commissioner (TC) Beverley Bell to meet with her to discuss some of the hot topics facing the industry. Knowing her formidable reputation, I was a little nervous ahead of our interview but she completely won me over and I have a huge amount of respect for her and her team of TCs. I will certainly look forward to having a follow-up interview with her in 2013.
“I have also been closely involved with the FairFuelUK (FFUK) team throughout the year as they have fought tirelessly to campaign against further fuel duty rises. FFUK founder Peter Carroll is on my speed-dial and there is barely a week that goes by when we don’t speak. It’s been a pleasure to have been welcomed into the FFUK family and I am sure that they are going to become an even stronger force to be reckoned with during 2013.”
Christopher Walton, group news editor: “In March, FairFuelUK staged a demonstration outside the House of Commons ahead of the Budget. That day it absolutely lashed it down but I will never forget the spirit and the camaraderie of all the hauliers who turned out to lobby their MPs. Talking about the price of fuel in the queue for security with Andrew Malcolm of Malcolm's, Richard Fry of Framptons and all sorts of owner-drivers and association heads. It really showed what the industry could achieve when it pulls together. A week later the chancellor cancelled the rise.”
Justin Stanton, editorial director: “2012 was a challenging year with a number of major events to deliver – all of which were delivered successfully.
“The Summer Freight Planning Conference, held at Wembley Stadium in March, was crucial for the industry: our task was to put on an event for Transport for London in order to communicate to operators the challenges the transport industry would face from the Olympics.
“We had less than 12 weeks from concept to delivery. The result? More than 190 paying delegates; job done! I had some oversight on this, but the real work was carried out by our group content editor Laura Hailstone, without whom the event might never have happened.
“The Motor Transport Awards (held in June rather than July due to the Olympics) was one of the biggest ever. Comedians Jimmy Carr and Sean Lock skirted a little too close to the boundaries of good taste and decency for some, but that’s the risk you take in hiring the country’s top comedians for a live event. For the record, they both came across as really down-to-earth guys in the rehearsal.
“Like the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, we had a deserving overall winner (CM Downton was named Haulier of the Year), and it was a genuine pleasure to see the surprise and joy on the face of Nikki King, Isuzu Truck MD, who won the Service to Industry award.”
David Wilcox: If the year has an even number it can mean only one thing – there will be an IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hannover. 2012 proved yet again that European truck shows don’t come any bigger or better than Hannover, making those few days in September my personal highlight.
The sheer size of the event is always awe-inspiring, never more so than in 2012, when visitor numbers were up 9% on the 2010 total, reaching over 260,000. The number of exhibitors was also up by 9% to over 1,900, leaving us in no doubt that the powerful German commercial vehicle industry is firing on all cylinders once again. But Hannover’s reach goes well beyond Germany. Over half the exhibitors were foreign companies; there were 152 from China alone. One could spend a solid week at Hannover and still come away having missed entire halls.
But size is not everything. The more telling statistic for a journalist is 354 world premieres. It doesn’t get better than that. Roll on 2014.