Haulage boss whose daughters drive HGVs praises Pallet-Track’s road ahead approach

The haulage boss who encouraged his two daughters to take up HGV driving as part of an initiative to plug a chronic industry skills shortage has praised the Pallet-Track network for setting the industry benchmark for excellence.

Martyn Bowers, managing director of The TLP Group and whose daughters Holly and Kate Bowers have followed him and grandad William into the family business, based in Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, said Pallet-Track was the gold standard.

“One of the reasons I got the girls to take the Class 1 licence was purely selfish. Pallet-Track sets the industry benchmark as far as I am concerned. It has an excellent reputation for delivering every pallet on time and in excellent condition, so for me to maintain that standard I needed to resource for the peaks and troughs of pallet volumes.”

Martyn, 47, who has been an HGV driver for 25 years, added: “We now have a ‘family’ of Class 1 drivers who can ‘at the drop of the hat’ respond to Pallet-Track’s requirements.”

According the national figures from the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the industry needs around 50,000 drivers to get behind the wheel. But, with the average HGV driver age being 53 and only two per cent of applicants under the age of 25, there are more drivers looking at retirement than climbing into a cab for the first time. The figures also reveal that just one per cent of HGV drivers are women.

“Having the girls in the business is a great story, but it was a practical business decision at the end of the day, not unlike when we tried to join Pallet-Track in the first instance.

“Over the last 10 years I had tried on various occasions to join Pallet-Track because they were the only network in Staffordshire we couldn’t win business from, either on price or in terms of service.

“They do things a little differently because service is paramount and this has not changed in the 30 months we have been members. They are also unique in terms of everyone being treated the same. This sounds simple enough but no other network has ever achieved that – Pallet-Track will not settle for second best.

“In terms of communication, they are always available and it’s all down to the management team – you won’t find a more hard-working, motivated and, dare I say, lovely set of people in transport.

In 30 years of transport we have never enjoyed a level of service like we have seen at Pallet-Track.”