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Wed July 28 2021

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Industry urged to use non-tipping trailers to combat driver shortage

13 Jul The shortage of lorry drivers has been well reported in recent months but there are ways to mitigate the problem.

Building materials supplier says that if everyone delivered aggregate using non-tipping trailers (NTTs), we would need fewer vehicles to get the jobs done.

NTT, it says, can help combat supply shortages.

According to Aggregate Industries, the ‘walking floor’ system of non-tipping trailers, which pushes material out of the hold, increases carrying capacity by up to 43% per vehicle.

Several aggregate firms have adopted them since their introduction to the market in 2013 but take-up remains low due to customer inertia, lack of planning and product misconceptions, Aggregate Industries says. It adds that now would be a good time for the laggards to think again and catch up.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) recently warned that the availability of hauliers is now a ‘critical nationwide problem’, and blamed Brexit for the industry having 15,000 fewer drivers. At the same time, almost 30,000 HGV driver tests have been postponed during the pandemic, leading to delays and shortages of materials including bricks, blocks, roof tiles and bagged cement.

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Head of road logistics Ben Young said: “At a time when the construction sector faces ongoing challenges around the availability of truck drivers, which is exacerbating supply issues, the need to utilise innovative trailers such as NTTs to alleviate the problem cannot be overstated.

“The fact that these cutting-edge trucks, considered best practice and with a proven track record on many projects already, can deliver up to 40% more materials compared to standard hauls means they should be a no brainer on all construction projects – especially those suffering from a lack of drivers.”

He added: “Hesitancy over NTTs is disappointing and unfounded – they’ve delivered great results on high-profile projects such as the A14, yet they just aren’t utilised as much as they could be. The latest generation of NTTs not only boast a discharge speed of 53 seconds but also have improved inner and outer turning circle (v 8W) in terms of manoeuvrability.

“The UK construction sector is considered world-class and with the driver shortage likely to continue in the coming years, remaining competitive and cutting edge in the face of Brexit and a post-pandemic recovery has never been more important. This will depend on how the industry can improve gains in productivity, efficiency and technology and NTTs are a vital part of this.”

However, Aggregate Industries' call was met with sceptism and derision by lorry drivers themselves. "Biggest load off bollocks I’ve ever heard" and "what a load of crap" were among the comments posted on the British Tipper Trucks Facebook page.

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