BIFA president supports National Lorry Week
BIFA’s president, Sir Peter Bottomley has shown his support for this week’s National Lorry Week amid the national shortage of HGV drivers.
National Lorry Week highlights the vital and often-overlooked role that the logistics industry plays in the lives all everyone, every day.
Sir Peter, who is MP for West Worthing says: “Before embarking on my political career, I worked as a lorry driver including an interesting summer unloading trucks in Melbourne's docks.
“At 18, I worked on a freight ship from Brisbane to Liverpool mainly as the cook’s assistant. At University I was in charge of a Walls Ice Cream Van for two summers and graduated to a seven-tonne truck delivering ice cream to shops and hospitality venues across the south of London.
“In my late 20s, as marketing director of a small light-engineering company, I would routinely relieve the specialist driver by taking export consignments to Millwall Docks on a Sunday night: sleeping in the cab, dropping the load and driving back to Watford so that the regular driver could take over the long runs.
“In 1975 I successfully stood for Parliament and in 1986 I went on to become the Minister of Roads and Traffic under Margaret Thatcher. As a transport minister, I was responsible for the testing and supervision of drivers, and the supervision of freight operators through the traffic commissioners.
“After 15 years in Parliament, with appreciation for its years of use, I gave up my heavy goods vehicle licence.
“I am pleased to continue to this day as president of BIFA, an excellent organisation that continues to champion the work of our freight industry on the international stage. During a recent BIFA Council Meeting I said to chair, Rachel Morley that, like her predecessors, she ran meetings in the same way that goods are transported around the world and around the country every day: effectively, expertly and efficiently. We reflected on a difficult but productive year and on the prospects for the industry.
“The freight and logistics industry is worth £127bn to the UK economy, but its true value is the role it plays in making sure we get everything we need. Without logistics, our society and economy would come to a standstill.
“Virtually everything we buy or use has been handled by a countless array of skilled individuals and teams. I recall the hard work of so many colleagues in the freight industry: it is not an easy job, but it is fundamentally important.
“The importance of the entire interconnected network of logistics and freight has been thrust into the limelight over the last two years. Let us hope many more will recognise and celebrate just how much we rely upon this important industry.
"During this National Lorry Week let us give a cheer for every individual who makes our freight industry carry on working.”