London-based LHT Logistics is developing a niche offering after gaining Silver FORS accreditation. The company, which has been a member of the Fortec Distribution Network since 2003, already had Bronze accreditation but took the decision to go for Silver and upgraded its existing fleet of six vehicles together with three new vehicles with an investment of £3000 per vehicle to ensure they met the stringent criteria which FORS imposes. Indeed, they have been brought up to such a high standard that all their new vehicles are also Gold compliant.
The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is a voluntary accreditation scheme that promotes best practice for commercial vehicle operators.
Silver is awarded to operators who can demonstrate a higher level in compliance and safety. All vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are equipped with a left turn audible warning system, as well as devices and cameras to minimise blind spots.
With safety at the top of LHT’s agenda, the company invested in multiple cameras sited at the front, rear and sides of the vehicles, four way split screens as well as a 500GB hard-drive recorder systems giving up to three months history of driving data.
Additionally, the rigids are fitted with side audible warning alarms and it is planned with all new purchased vehicles to be fitted each with see through cycle doors Ben Ruby, Managing Director of LHT Logistics, said that delivering into London was becoming more and more challenging as transport firms faced an ever-growing number of regulations and restrictions.
And he said he believed these restrictions would increase with a move for greater consolidation of deliveries on a similar basis as that which operated during the 2012 Olympics.
He said: “FORS may be a voluntary scheme nationally, but in London there are growing restrictions so it is vital that operators have the appropriate FORS accreditation to move freely in the capital. “It is a huge capital investment, particularly as all vehicles have to be fully compliant in order to gain the accreditation, and for operators outside of the capital with only occasional deliveries into London, it simply isn’t commercially viable. Certainly, if I had been operating outside of London I wouldn’t have invested.
“However, moving forward, I see London becoming so heavily restricted that it was essential to my business if I was going to keep ahead of the game.
“In fact, for us it has created an opportunity as we are in an ideal position to provide a net delivery service from our depot into London. It’s a win win for all – it provides us with an additional revenue stream and enables operators from outside of London to maintain a service for their customers” LHT is a business which has gone from strength to strength. Initially working as a parcel courier from 1990, Ben took the decision to form LHT in 2000. Three years later LHT joined Fortec having recognised the need to be able to offer pallet delivery to their customers. Within 18 months the company came out of the parcels market, focusing more on pallets – a market which Ben sees as still having potential for growth.
Today the company employs a 20-strong workforce.