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Friday, January 6, 2017

Famous Haulage Work Stories

 by Lyall Cresswell

 If you're feeling a bit tired and jaded, why not have a smile with a few haulage work stories.

Believe it or not - all of these are true!

The grand tour

The poor shipping clerk sitting at his desk was desperately trying to explain to an irate client why their trailer load of critically important Italian imports was still sitting in Dover 3 days after arrival without a tractor unit to deliver it.  The driver had in fact vanished upon arrival in the UK and there were now serious concerns for his safety.

A few minutes later, the phone rang. It was the Italian driver saying that he was in the Lake District and was enjoying a few days sightseeing before going back to Dover to collect and deliver the trailer.  Cue a sudden very rushed telephone course in basic Anglo-Saxon!

Forklift tricks

A flatbed 12-metre containing one last pallet pulled into the jammed warehouse for unloading.

The inexperienced forklift driver was new to haulage work and decided that to reduce manoeuvring, he'd take the weight off the pallet and ask the driver to pull forward.   He called out to drive forward as he lifted the pallet a couple of inches or so off the trailer - or rather he thought he'd lifted it...

The pallet had in fact jammed onto a stanchion and as the truck pulled forward, in spite of frantic unheard calls to the driver, it started to take the forklift with it.   Once the forklift reached about 45 degrees, its driver understandably decided to 'abandon ship' and fortunately avoided injury as the forklift finally toppled and crashed to the ground.  Who said turning over a forklift was impossible?

Thanks for the meal

A major client of a haulage work company asked them, at very short notice, to send somebody to supervise the loading of a trailer at their premises.  As usual, nobody was available so a trainee was sent just to 'fly the flag'.  He was told to keep an eye on the loading and also to take the client's shipping manager named John out for lunch.  Upon arrival, he met someone in a suit by the trailer and said "hi you must be John". Having shaken hands, he took John down to the local pub for a hearty lunch.

When he returned his own the office, an indignant manager demanded to know where he'd been as he'd had a complaint from "John" that he'd never turned up.  You guessed it - after much confusion, shouting and mutual recriminations, it turned out that he'd got the wrong 'John'. He had, in fact taken someone out for lunch that actually worked for another company who'd by chance been in the loading bay when he'd arrived!

Oddly, the guy hadn't objected to being plied with free food and beer by a complete stranger.  The moral of this tale? Be careful with "Johns"!

The need to be flexible

A driver was asked to collect an 11m long solid steel tube weighing several tons.  Arriving at the warehouse, he was disturbed (to say the least) to find that the tube was in fact closer to 14m long and far too long to transport legally with his vehicle.

Phoning back to his base, he left a message and asked for instructions.

The helpful text message that came back? "Can you bend it a bit?"

That's the trouble these days - people in haulage work just don't understand the importance of flexibility!

Getting an overview

The manager of a large French-based haulage work firm decided to come over and familiarise himself with the UK operation.  His secretary thoughtfully sent through to the UK head office his requested itinerary, the final sentence of which read, "Please ensure he gets taken to the local whorehouse". Stunned silence and confusion resulted. Always keen to be hospitable and comply, several people started speculating just how he could be helped to find such an establishment.  It was only after some time and a couple of exploratory phone calls,that someone came up with the bright insight "do you think they mean warehouse?"

One can't help feeling a little sorry the confusion was spotted in advance!

Like all jobs, haulage work can occassionally be a grind. Yet it can also generate a few laughs and experiences along the way!

Lyall Cresswell is the Managing Director of Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry across the UK and Europe. It provides services for haulage work  companies to buy and sell road transport and freight exchange in the domestic and international markets.

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