insider_image1I imagine many of us will be glad to see the back of January. The snow and bitterly cold temperatures during the month put pressure on pretty much every industry and, as you would expect, logistics was hit hard.

The snow seemed to reach every street in the country – well, apart from my street that is, which seems to have an inbuilt resistance to the white stuff – good news for me getting the car moving in the morning, but not quite such good news for my children’s prospects of building a snowman in the back garden.

We had similar conditions last February, so it’s not the first time in the past 12 months we’ve had these problems. I had to drive to Stevenage during that period and I remember it being some of the worst driving conditions I have ever experienced. Two lanes of the motorway were covered in snow, and the other lane was only suitable for driving at 50 mph all the way. And yet throughout the journey I saw many lorries and delivery drivers, myself included, braving the conditions, because it takes more than a bit of snow to stop Britain’s logistics industry.

Periods of heavy snowfall are the only time that road grit becomes front page news, and throughout the recent cold snap the regional media was full of people complaining about the use of road grit, or more precisely, the lack of it.

Most Councils concentrated on gritting only the major roads, much to the chagrin of those whose residential streets were untreated and, as a result, impassable. These decisions were vindicated by the length of time the freezing conditions continued. If councils gritted every road and used up their supplies of grit too quickly, we could have been faced with a situation where there was nothing left to treat the trunk roads, and then the country really would have ground to a halt.

If that had happened, then complaints would have been rife as supermarkets ran out of food, pharmacies ran out of medicine and forecourts ran out of petrol. Although, of course, these complaints would have gone unheard, as complaint letters wouldn’t have been delivered and newspapers wouldn’t have left the printers.

Apparently this has been the UK’s coldest winter for more than 20 years. Here’s hoping we won’t see another quite as bad as this for a similar time period. But when these conditions come back around, will it be enough to stop Britain’s logistics industry? About as much chance of that as of seeing a snowman in my back garden.

Warehouse & Logistics News

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