News reports over the past few days all featured the problems caused by atrocious weather conditions. Flights are delayed; train operators are either running restricted services or cancelling them altogether.
But despite the gloom, doom and ice, most supermarket shelves remain stacked, factories keep working, filling stations maintain stocks of fuel and, to all intents and purposes, life goes on. This is down to the unsung heroes of the UK haulage industry.
The cost to the economy in general caused by the current adverse weather conditions will amount to millions of pounds in lost revenue. The cost to the haulage industry in particular will be equally damaging.
Hauliers are facing up to serious problems completing deliveries on time, many requiring additional resources (drivers and vehicles) to complete normal duties. And if this were not enough, many operators are finding that their customers have closed until the weather improves.
Diversion costs due to road closures are also an issue while those who deliver to industrial sites face additional safety hazards of side roads which have not been gritted because of they do not rate sufficiently high on local authorities' list of priorities. And if that were not enough, hauliers are now paying the highest rates for diesel for well over a year.
"This is an industry that works tremendously hard come rain, shine or snow", said RHA spokesperson Kate Gibbs. "We have just been through a year that for many members has been financially crippling. Yet UK hauliers are still delivering the UK economy."