July 21, 2019

More than a month of work is being lost to congestion

Following its latest Business Barometer, Mercedes-Benz Vans says congestion is increasingly becoming a critical business issue.

The delivery drivers surveyed said that, on average, 16 per cent of their working day is lost due to congestion, which means, based on an 8 hour working day, this equates to 1 hour 17 minutes a day, or more than 6 hours across a typical working week. Over a year, this adds up to 37 working days lost due to congestion for the average delivery driver.

Greater London is unsurprisingly at the top of the ‘congestion league’, with respondents saying 18% of their working day is lost to congestion – higher than anywhere else in the UK.

The research, undertaken amongst 2,000 van owners and operators in the UK, also highlights that congestion is now the second biggest ‘barrier to growth’, with 31 per cent believing this will be a barrier to growth in the coming year, rising to 38 per cent amongst fleet managers.

The top six transport related growth barriers according to the Business Barometer are: rising fuel costs 57 per cent; congestion 31 per cent; vehicle expenditure 29 per cent; driver shortages 21 per cent; meeting increasing customer demand 16 per cent; and servicing ‘down time’ 10 per cent.

More than 40 per cent (43%) of respondents in the North West said that congestion will be a barrier to growth – the highest figure nationally. The North West is home to an emerging ‘Smart Motorway’ network roll-out that impacts some of Britain’s busiest motorways including the M6, M56, M62 and M60.

Further to this, more than half (55%) of owners and operators said they plan on increasing the number of vans they own or operate within the next 12 months, only adding to the strain on the vital arteries of the UK’s business network.

With the delivery economy on the rise, business operators are citing growing customer bases (47%), continuing growth of online shopping (40%) and a shift away from heavy goods vehicles as the main reason they’ll be investing in bigger fleets.

Steve Bridge, managing director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, said: “Anyone who has travelled along the M6 recently will fully understand the frustrations felt by our hard working van drivers – the amount of roadworks dotted all along the motorway is causing significant congestion issues, not least the stresses it puts time-sensitive couriers and distribution drivers under.

“We know from our Business Barometer that a growing customer base ever more focused on online retail is a positive for the industry, but unless the issue of congestion is tackled, these businesses will suffer. Congestion causes delays that cost money as well as time and can damage the reputation of business that rely on their deliveries.

“This is a key issue for the van driving/owning community so we hope that the trade associations and government organisations reading this will continue to take note of the opinion and sentiment of van owners and operators and listen to their concerns.”