Keeping the country supplied - Sandra Cottam-Shea
This message has been knocking about for years and at this challenging time, never a truer word said.
The transport industry is how this country and the world keeps the economy moving, literally.
We are now classed as essential workers and all of us carry a letter from the Department of Transport in case we get stopped by the Police travelling to and from work.
However, despite being essential there are 240,000 wagons parked up around the country. As businesses cease to trade the movement of goods reduce and those with big retail contracts have been hit hard.
Haulage is generally acknowledged as a roughty, toughty world and hauliers are not noted to be tearful and emotional, this one is and for a plethora of reasons.
Initially everything was fear based. Fear of falling ill, fear of not seeing my family as they are in lockdown on the Isle of Man, fear of losing the company that I had worked so hard to build and fear of failing my staff and their families.
The tears fell as I watched my lovely customers close their doors and said we'll see you on the other side. As establishments shuttered up in our beautiful bay and the loss of hugs and handshakes, face to face meetings and friendships in the flesh.
We furloughed those staff that are shielding frontline NHS and vulnerable family, begged for payment holidays, admin staff established at home working and enforced cab cleaning routines and safe working practices. We watched the figures dwindle and may as well have gone to a psychic for a cashflow projection.
This industry is nothing if not resilient and adaptable and that is definitely my amazing team.
As the world changed so did our type of freight. PPE must be moved, and we are lucky enough to service GVS in Morecambe. They make filters for masks and hospital equipment and we are so proud of them for cranking up several gears to accommodate the demand.
Compliance and the need for MOTs, drivers’ hours and other legalities have temporarily ceased but not on our watch. Our compliance team are as regulated as always and have not relaxed one bit.
The general haulage department have created relationship nationwide and continue to deliver vital goods around the country.
Our Pallet Network team in Heysham have continually delivered to the local community their online shopping and PPE requirements.
The tears still come but for added reasons now. Tears at reading Stobarts gesture of an NHS liveried trailer and its proceeds for 3 months will go to the NHS.Tears at watching Cpt Tom and other amazing individuals work their magic. Huge tears of pride for our NHS staff and their bravery and dedication. Our police and fire fighters, our shop and supermarket staff, refuse collectors, maintenance providers, anyone that is serving others. You all get my tears of gratitude especially my lot, thank you.
This storm will pass, and we will see you on the other side. Stay safe.