They took 'one of the worst routes'.
After truck and driver shortages hit the UK, Becky Day wanted to understand the pressures for drivers were in today's logistics climate. Here's what she discovered.
Our day began at 3am at Premier Logistics HQ in Bardon Hill. Once Joe had collected the trailer and MOFFETT (a forklift truck mounted to a lorry), we headed towards North Hampton Services; one of Joe’s favourite places to stop on his travels to grab a coffee and a snack.
From North Hampton, we continued our journey to London.
Throughout our day we delivered to multiple stores in some of London's most hectic areas such as Brixton, Shoreditch, and Croydon before making our way back to Leicester at about 1:30pm.
As the social media account manager of Premier Logistics, I wanted to understand what it is truly like to be a driver and experience it first-hand.
After talking to Lee, the managing director of Premier Logistics, he suggested that I spend the day with Joe.
Joe has the one of the worst routes within the company. As we were driving, he explained that traffic usually adds an extra two or three hours onto his day, however, on the Monday that I joined him we managed to avoid all the traffic. We were also lucky enough to avoid a crash just ahead of us on the M25 on our way back to Leicester involving at least six cars. Some may say I’m a lucky charm!
Joe has been in the industry for more than 15 years and has been with Premier Logistics for just over five years. Previously, Joe worked in the Co-Op but didn’t enjoy making small talk with customers, he was probably glad to get rid of me by the end of the day!
There is currently a shortage of drivers, as a result, many companies are trying to make the industry more appealing and offering sign-on bonuses and competitive wages.
When I asked Joe why he had chosen to continue to work for Premier Logistics, he said: I appreciate the company because they care about their staff and they do everything to make the job easier.”
Joe made driving and parking a 50 ton artic lorry look like he was parking my very tiny Fiat 500. I was also very impressed how Joe remained calm while he manoeuvred the vehicle through London's frenzied traffic and dealt with impatient drivers.
At our first stop in Brixton, due to the sheer size of the vehicle, Joe had to block both sides of the road meaning we managed to p*ss off at least three Londoners who were screaming and throwing fingers up at Joe.
What I took from the experience
Now, I have had a small glimpse of what it is like to be a truck driver. It’s clear to me that the public and the Government have little to no respect for drivers.
Premier Logistics continually invests into their drivers to make their day brighter, they offer free memberships to their state-of-the-art gym, they have access to power showers, they provide affordable secure overnight parking, and they invest into the newest kit.
Drivers deserve more respect and recognition, and I would like to take a moment to thank all of the UK drivers for keeping the country running throughout hard times during the pandemic and continuing to work long hours to put food on our shelves.
I am so grateful to have the had the chance to join Joe and get an insight into his day, the negatives, and positives.
I’d like to thank Joe for allowing me to spend the day with him and Lee for the opportunity. Joe is an incredible driver and I’d be more than happy to join him again if he’ll let me!
And the next time you go to the shop and buy your loaf of bread or pint of milk, take a second to appreciate the hard work of our UK drivers.
Written by Becky Day
Becky has previously written copy for several social media campaigns and content for websites. She recently graduated from De Montfort University with a bachelor's degree in graphic design. She now works in design and social media at Cross Productions and at Orton's Brasserie on the weekends.