Manchester Congestion Charge Out But Rate Rises Likely For Hauliers

Despite the Manchester congestion charge being quashed by residents, it is predicted that hauliers in Manchester may face extra charges.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) is now looking for new ways to fund public transport improvements. One idea motioned by AGMA is to increase business rates to raise £38m.

AGMA chairman Lord Peter Smith says raising business rates would enable the city to do “about a tenth” of what it had originally planned.

The news will come as a blow to those hauliers who fought so hard to deny the congestion charge.

Guide to finding cheap and reliable motorbike delivery and motorcycle transporters

Perhaps you’ve just got a great deal by winning a motorbike off eBay or through Autotrader, the only downside being that it is located on the other side of the country. Or perhaps the motorbike is a non-runner and you need to get it from A-B ready for repairs or scrap? Whatever your reasons, getting your motorcycle delivered by a motorbike transporter is a fairly straightforward process. However, there are still a number of considerations you should take in account to help minimize the risk to your pride and joy.

Service Type

There are a few different service options available when looking to move a motorcycle.

a) Motorcycle transported inside commercial vehicles on specially built brackets
b) Motorcycle transported on open trailer
c) Motorcycle transported in enclosed trailer

Quite often, the cheapest option will be for your motorcycle to be transported as a part-load with other goods in a commercial vehicle (van or HGV). However, be sure that the transport provider has experience with moving motorcycles and that they are using industry standard brackets/securing mechanisms to help prevent damage in transit.

Custom-built motorcycle trailers do tend to result in a slightly higher cost, however this will help ensure that your motorcycle is clear of other goods deliveries. Open trailers are more susceptible to damage and theft as the bike is clearly visible (in particular when parked). Enclosed trailers on the other hand offer a more secure solution and do not carry the risk of stone chips or damage from debris on the road.

Getting Quotes / Prices

Just like any service, you wouldn’t just accept the first price you receive. It pays to shop around, so aim to get at least 5 quotes.

Insurance

Without a doubt the most important thing when choosing a motorcycle transporter is to check their insurance documentation. If they are not adequately insured, you run the risk of not only not being able to file a claim in the event of damage but even losing your motorcycle altogether if their transporter is impounded by the police.

Policies do vary from company to company, but the key areas you will want to check are the value of the level of cover and cover for both theft and damage.

Your own motorcycle insurance policy may provide some cover for “vehicles in transit”, so it is worth checking this for extra peace of mind.

Establishing the trustworthiness of motorcycle transport companies

Right, you’re happy with the insurance document and you like the price, but how can you be sure that they are reliable & have the necessary experience to take care of your motorbike? First off, you should do some background checks on the company. A simple search of the company name on Google should bring up some impartial reviews. The company themselves should also be able to offer you testimonials and references. It is up to them to prove to you that they are trustworthy. If they find it hard to do that, then they probably aren’t worth the risk.

Payment terms

General practice is that the motorbike delivery company will take a deposit (definitely no more than 25%) upon booking their services, with the rest payable on delivery. Usually cash or check is accepted but it is advised to use credit card where possible as you will be able to dispute these charges later should a problem occur.

Go through contract

Verbal promises mean nothing, insist upon a written contract for the services to be carried out. If you are uncertain about any clauses, ask the firm and get them to re-draft it if necessary. There should be a clause whereby you are compensated if they fail to deliver within the specified timeframe.

Preparing the motorcycle for transport

Now that you have agreed dates and signed on the dotted line, you will need to ensure that you spend adequate time preparing your motorcycle for transit. 99% of problems on delivery are down to poor preparation. So, don’t leave this to the last minute. The transport firm will no doubt offer you tips as well, but be sure to do the following:

1) Wash the motorcycle thoroughly
2) Make a written note of any pre-existing damage (chips, dents etc)
3) Take photos of the bike from several angles and close-ups of any pre-existing damage
4) Date the photos and written record
5) If your motorbike is being moved as freight along with other goods, be sure that you remove the battery and drain all fluids and fuel.

Remove any accessories and loose items from your bike, the transporter is not responsible for these items if they go missing or are damaged.

If the motorcycle is being trailered, although not always necessary, it is helpful if the bike is in working order in the case that it needs to be driven a short distance between transporters.

So, you should:

1) Inflate tyres
2) Charge battery
3) Fill petrol tank to ¼ – ½ full
4) Check and fix any fluid leaks

What to expect from the motorcycle transport company on pickup / delivery

Before you release your motorbike to the transporter, be sure to record the current mileage, although you bike may be ridden a very short distance to get on/off trailers there should be no major increases in mileage between pickup and delivery.

Make sure that you have the driver’s contact details and that they have yours.

Upon delivery, you need to inspect your motorbike thoroughly. Do not rush this step or sign anything until this is complete. Check for any new damage or increase in mileage. Only once you are happy should you sign any documents, there is generally no come-back once the papers are signed.

In the unlikely event that new damage has been caused in transit, you should file a claim with the transport company and follow their usual procedures. You should also file a claim with your own insurance company within 24 hours.

Snow tests Britain’s transport infrastructure to the limit

Britain’s roads today were hit hard with snow storms. According to the BBC, we have been seeing the worst snow for 18 years!

Check out the snow map at BBC – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7865477.stm.

We hope that despite the snow, Shiply shipments are making their way to their destinations albeit a bit slower no doubt!! We hope your eBay shipping will be completed on time.

Take care out there, and don’t drive like this:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM2gLjfE_3Y]

 

Green Courier Services – what more can we do?

Shiply is great for the environment, by matching loads up with couriers and transport companies already making similar trips we can cut down on the number of wasted and un-necessary trips.

Those transport providers that actively seek out to find work along routes they are already travelling and on the return of these routes are not only helping the environment but also maximising their revenues.

Yet, there is always more that can be done!

1) Cut down on printing – think before you print
2) Use energy saving light bulbs
3) Switch off those office lights when not needed
4) Turn off your computers and laptops when not in use (or at least the use the power saving option which will)
5) Recycle your ink cartridges
6) Recycle everything that you can
7) Online marketing and selling is cheaper and greener than making constant site visits
8) Buy fair trade products (coffee, tea etc)
9) Use email over fax and regular post. Many clients are happy with pdf invoices.
10) Car pool, share lifts with work colleagues and cut down on emissions.

Are you a transport company and use Shiply to keep your vehicles full? You can add a Shiply green badge to your own web site to show that you care for our environment. Just login to My Shiply and click on the “Green tick badge” link on the left.

Radio 4 You & Yours – online entrepreneur tackles empty running lorries

If you had any free time on xmas eve and weren’t out chasing after those last few gifts that “slipped your mind”, perhaps you heard Shiply on BBC Radio 4.

We were featured on the popular You & Yours show, which is all to do with consumer affairs. The show aimed to take a look back at what has been a very difficult year in the haulage industry and discuss how things look for the future.

Kate Gibbs from the Road Haulage Association, kindly put forward her thoughts and was very complimentary of Shiply and our aims for the market.

I particularly like doing these kind of shows which allow the public a very quick overview of the industry and also the solutions which may be of benefit to them personally.

I think the fact that Shiply offers a solution which aids the haulage industry whilst simultaneously saving the consumer money is something which hopefully the listeners found of interest.

Read more about the show in our press section.

Parcel Tracking Tool

We know how frustrating & time-consuming it can be keeping track of all your parcel deliveries that you book with the parcel network companies.

So, we have created a neat parcel tracking tool which allows you to easily track & trace the status of your parcels from all the major networks. These include: Fedex, UPS, DHL, City Link, Home Delivery Network, Interlink Express and TNT.

Please note that this tool is purely meant to be a handy tool to help with tracking your parcel deliveries and is not for tracking shipments booked through Shiply.

If there are any other major parcel companies you would like to see added to the tool, please just ask below.

The Popes secret courier

I came across a very interesting article in the Guardian all about the Pope’s own personal courier. His name is Thaddeus Kühneland he does about 150,000 miles a year at the Pope’s beckon call.

Collecting everything from christmas trees and chocolates and special mineral water. Many will moan, saying that quite a few of these items could quite easily have gone via a parcel network minimizing the environmental impact. However, clearly having an extra level of security which a dedicated courier can offer is something which is important for a man of his standing.

Here is the article:

Kühnel drove from the pope’s home state of Bavaria to the Vatican yesterday to personally deliver this year’s boot-load of food, as well as five Christmas trees that were strapped to the roof of his car.

Lebkuchen honey and spice biscuits, stollen German Christmas cake, and chocolate were among the treats, Kühnel told German media. Of the trees, which came from the pope’s home town, Marktl am Inn, Kühnel said: “One is for the Pope’s living room, and two are for private chapels.”

Butchers in Marktl am Inn began selling Ratzinger sausages in his honour when he became pope in 2005.

There was also a present from the pope’s brother, Georg, 84, a retired priest. Kühnel would not reveal what it was, but said “usually they give each other practical things, like wristwatches and electric foot-warmers”.

Kühnel said he had already clocked up around 250,000km 150,000 miles in his car, delivering goods to the pope that he had personally requested, along with presents from his old friends, staff and distant relatives. “I deliver all the things he misses about Bavaria, including fruit nectar, Bavarian sausages from his favourite restaurant, advent wreaths and German sweets. He has a very sweet tooth,” Kühnel said.

“The first thing I brought to Rome, in my car, was a paschal candle, as well as some fruit from Adelholzen and mineral water. He likes the Christmas cookies that women from Bavarian parishes bake at home as well as those made at certain monasteries. He also likes the chocolates made in Aachen.”

The Pope clearly likes his food and Kühnel is keeping him very happy by the looks of things!

CV Show 2009 cancelled

The organisers of the commercial vehicle show have today announced that the 2009 has been cancelled. Issuing this press statement:

The Commercial Vehicle Partnership, comprising the SMMT, RHA and SOE, and the CV Show Committee, made up of the partners and representatives from the commercial vehicle and component sector, agreed today to cancel this year’s CV Show scheduled for 28-30 April at Birmingham’s NEC.

The Partnership recognised in December that the economic downturn creates a difficult environment for vehicle manufacturers to commit to large international exhibitions. Nevertheless, some 290 exhibitors signed up for the Show requiring the Partners to consult widely with them on support for a focussed engineering-based alternative. The results indicate that while some support was forthcoming, it was not enough to retain the credibility that the CV Show has created as a major international event of its type and which the Partners and the Show committee were keen to maintain.

“We have obviously noted that just about every other show in this sector has been cancelled for 2009”, said RHA Chief Executive Roger King. “But the advanced status of ours did not permit us to cancel without careful consultation.

“This was a difficult decision but, on balance, the right one. What we learned from this exercise was that despite a generally negative response to 2009, there appears a much more positive approach to 2010 which encourages the Partnership to set plans in motion for a show in April of that year”.

“This is of course disappointing, but given the current economic climate and the uncertainty created, it is the only decision we could make. Naturally, the Partners are grateful for the NEC’s support for this decision”, said Nigel Emms, the CV Show Committee Chairman. “Future planning for the next Show should be done against the backdrop of the outstanding 2008 event and not a compromise one for 2009.”

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive added: “2009 will be an extremely challenging year across the motor industry but this decision, while difficult, creates the opportunity to ensure the 2010 event best reflects the changing needs of the road transport industry.”

Finally, Society of Operations Engineers Chief Executive Nick Jones said: “Whilst the cost of cancellation may be considerable, all exhibitors will receive a full refund. We are confident that exhibitors will be ready to sign up when details are announced for the 2010 Show”.

We at Shiply were sorry to hear of the show’s cancellation, as we felt it was the best trade show related the the transport industry that we visited last year.

It is understandable however, for several months we have been hearing that they were struggling to secure exhibitors for this year’s event. We hope things will have turned around by 2010.

I take it none of the exhibitors will be needing to request any tradeshow transportation then?

The Sunday Times – New firms can find an upside to downturn

Shiply were featured in the Sunday Times this weekend just gone in an interesting article within the business section.

The journalist, Andrew Stone, wanted to highlight some new businesses like ourselves that have started up in 2008 with the recession looming. For many, setting up a business now does seem like the worst timing and I would have to agree in many cases. However, it can also be a great time to start up if your idea ticks the right boxes. For me, the most important being that your solution offers value for money or better still saves people money.

I can’t say I agree with the other featured company, Two Chicks (who sell cartoned egg whites), with their statement: “Although ours is a premium product, food is one of the last things people cut back on in a downturn.” I know for a fact that I eat less caviar these days :). However, they certainly seem to have a good product which is already proven overseas so I wish the very best of luck.

It is good to see that despite the downturn, there are still plenty of good opportunities out there.