Behind the shed

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The Adonis of modern transport has finally arrived. And he’s a Lord. Andrew Adonis has taken over from Geoff Hoon as the secretary of state for transport, bringing with him an alarmingly impressive and diverse cv. The author and co-author of six books including Studies of the English class system; The rise and fall of the poll tax; and The Victorian House of Lords, Adonis has also worked as education correspondent, as well as public policy editor at the “Financial Times”, and as political columnist and leader writer at “The Observer”. He was made history and politics Fellow at Oxford for a decade, and went on to become minister of state for transport and parliamentary under secretary of state for Schools and Learners at the Department for Children, Schools and Families. And if that’s not enough to make you feel like the most desperate underachiever, he also acted as advisor to former (and elected) prime minister Tony Blair on education and public services and was head of the No 10 Policy Unit.

A team of six riders from Wincanton has completed the Transaid Cycle challenge, a five-day bike ride of 450 kilometres (280 miles) across some of Zambia’s toughest terrain in aid of road safety projects in the country. Gavin Williams of Wincanton said: “It was a really tough challenge, particularly in the heat but the Zambian people were fantastic and cheered us on the way.” The Wincanton team contributed £24,000 of the £90,000 raised by the Transaid event, and the money is still trickling in. The team was sponsored by New Order Search which specialises in senior recruitment for the logistics industry.

They are known as “Points of Interest” databases and normally contain details of theme parks, theatres and museums, but now Navteq, the provider of digital map, traffic and location data for in-vehicle, portable, wireless and enterprise solutions has come up with a Points of Interest database for truck stops, filling stations and the like. Of course, it is designed for the freight and transport industry and content includes information on accessibility by lorries; availability of HGV fuel pumps and power supply; type of fuels sold (truck diesel, bio diesel mix, vegetable oil, additives such as AdBlue, etc); car or truck wash facilities; payment options; and even whether or not there are showers on site.

More than half of distribution bosses (51 per cent) are worse at motivating staff since the recession began, according to a survey by the campaign Keep Britain Working. The research, which represents the views of more than 1,600 workers, also found that 24 per cent of distribution bosses have increased their criticism and blaming of others, 13 per cent have started shouting and raging, 27 per cent have hidden themselves away and 36 per cent have become indifferent. Specific examples highlighted by participants include a charity boss who brought in his hunting rifle and pretended to fire it at staff to make them work harder, a boss who made staff clean toilets because she had sacked the cleaners to save money, and a boss who cut staff hours and pay while boasting about using his bonus to redecorate his house. Worryingly, only one in six bosses has done anything more to motivate staff.

There seems to be something of a craze on the internet to find the most bizarre uses for a forklift truck – or two – as this picture shows. Toyota is rightly proud of its SAS stability system but it’s a fair bet it never expected it to have to cope with a situation like this.

Guy Watts and Andrew Delaney, who are sponsored by Paragon Software Systems, are now a quarter of the way in their world record attempt to row across the Indian Ocean in the aid of Orchid, the male cancer charity. The fundraising target for Orchid is £125,000. The team has been at sea for over a month in its rowing boat, Flying Ferkins, and has been hit by bad weather and close encounters with sharks as it makes the 3,780 nautical mile journey from Western Australia to Mauritius. Their progress can be followed at and the team’s blog can be read at

Freight forwarder Davies Turner has moved more than 300 tonnes of books and other literature to Iran for the 22nd annual Tehran International Book Fair. Philip Stephenson, joint managing director of Davies Turner, said: “This has beaten 2008’s grand total, itself a record, by the equivalent of a whole extra truck load.”

F1 Team Force India sent one of its show cars to Mumbai through team sponsor Kingfisher Airlines, where it will be displayed in a number of high profile locations. The car was delivered to Airline Handling’s refurbished 577 Cargo Terminal at Heathrow’s World Cargo Centre just hours before being secured inside one of the airline’s A330-200, which began a daily London to Mumbai service in January. “We needed to balance speed with caution during the build and load processes,” explained Stephen James, Kingfisher Airlines cargo manager UK and Ireland.

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