In a world that’s full of consumers who increasingly expect everything at their fingertips, there are many opportunities for hauliers who are prepared to drive at night as part of a 24-hour supply chain. While it's not for everyone, this constant demand means that the rewards can be very attractive. |
The Need for a 24-Hour Supply Chain
With the need to keep the supply chain moving following a 9-5 schedule is not an option. The import and export of goods is a major part of the chain, and every minute of every day goods are flown, shipped, or trucked all over the world in massive volumes, in order to keep the wheels in motion – quite literally.
Retailers and consumers are demanding fast and easy access products so the pressure is on for the supply chain to provide higher levels of efficiency. Industry giants maintain 24-hour operations in factories and warehouses and global corporations like Amazon are moving towards sleek same day delivery services The need for a constant flow of transportation, and for workforce enabling this, is also growing.
Benefits for Drivers
The costs of hours spent on the road transporting goods is part of the inherent basic framework of the supply chain. In terms of road haulage, keeping the supply chain moving means relying on a virtually non-stop workforce of HGV drivers.
Hauliers prepared to take on time sensitive available loads will often drive through the night, or they may be employed on a shift basis where regular night driving is part of their contract. In an industry that's already experiencing a skills shortage, those prepared to take on what are sometimes perceived as 'unsociable hours' can command significantly higher rates of pay. There are also special subsistence allowances paid to drivers who have to spend the night away from home – whether in the cab of their lorries or in accommodation. (These may also include such items as meal allowances and washing allowances.)
There is strict legislation in place to ensure that HGV drivers (and employers) comply with health and safety requirements regarding proper rest and meal breaks. Some larger businesses even provide free health assessments for night workers to ensure that their physical and mental condition is not affected by having to drive at night.
For hauliers taking on available loads that require night driving, it's important to consider more factors than the fiscal rewards and favourable working conditions. With more than three million night workers (across a variety of industries) in Britain, a report published by the Trades Union Centre (TUC) found that regular night work could, in some cases, have a negative effect on family/work/life balance. The solution, say the TUC, is fairly straightforward: maintaining proper communication between employers, employees, and their family about the implications of working at night, and reviewing the situation regularly.
Consumers may never consider the workforce required to support their modern lifestyle, but the reality is that, as the world shrinks, the necessity of the global 24-hour supply chain is only going to increase.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for available loads in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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