Arriving in style on Friday (Dec 12) to meet with over 100 truckers and industry leaders from across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire was Roads Minister Claire Perry.
Travelling in a Nelson Distribution Mercedes Actros truck she was in Ripley to launch the Local Enterprise Partnership D2N2’s strategic plan for transport and logistics.
More than 28,000 people are employed in transport and logistics across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and in order to assist this rapidly expanding industry the LEP is making logistics a priority.
Roads Minister Claire Perry, said she was delighted to attend and spoke about the importance of the sector. “You are absolutely vital to Britain’s long term economic plan.”
She highlighted investment in the roads network and the new HS2 rail link and the need for input from the industry in the plan to maximise the benefits from the developments.
The Minister also spoke of her pride in the change to the speed limit for HGVs coming into force in April.
“Raising the speed limit for HGVs is something I am incredibly proud to do. As a cyclist and mother of three I would never do anything to compromise safety on British roads and it is inescapable logic bringing speed limits into the 21st century.”
On display at the home of AIM Commercial Services Ltd, who hosted the event, were a range of vehicles including an artic to home delivery van and courier motorbike, highlighting the diversity of the sector. These included vehicles from Sport Direct, Long Eaton Plant Hire, ABH of Mansfield and JC Balls of Belper.
Carl Lomas, D2N2 LEP sector chair for Transport and Logistics said: “Commercial drivers in the Derbyshire Nottinghamshire, D2N2 LEP region are among the most multi skilled drivers in the UK, negotiating twisting roads of the Peak District with milk truck work through to artics into complex supply chain delivery with Rolls Royce Bombardier and Toyota.
“Drivers in the D2N2 area haul from the quarries to the cities negotiating B roads to arterial motor-ways across our M1 centre line.”
Lomas asked for help, data and information on which to form the future sector action plan for the D2N2 LEP who have prioritised transport and logistics for the region.
National organisations including the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency were represented at the event together with major transport and logistic firms from across the region.
The Minister who was joined by Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Derby Rod Dubrow-Marshall, met local haulage bosses from across the region.
One of the issues facing the sector is a driver recruitment and retention as well as a lack of understanding among young people about the opportunities and jobs available in the industry.
AIM Commercial Services Ltd who, with thanks to a grant from Derby Enterprise Growth Fund, is one of the organisations helping meet the growing demand in the sector.
From their new warehouse and logistics site the Minister toured they offer education and training in everything from driver to management CPC, home delivery and warehouse, van to heavy truck driving.
The Master Carmen, Lt Col Paul Holder, Royal Logistics Corps had earlier opened the event to hauliers, following a welcome, trucker style bacon buttie breakfast.
The Department of Works and Pensions, national head for logistics Alex Farkas spoke about local jobs in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire for the growing LEP sector of transport and logistics.
While Safety was the order of the day from David Higginbottom, from Driver First Assist, who outlined the potential to reduce RTC fatalities by up to 46%.