The hype surrounding hazardous road conditions in the snow has caused delivery drivers to lose confidence, according to distribution firm CCI.
The company, which delivers IT, storage and multi-media products to retailers such as Amazon, Argos and Dixons, said that while the sector has coped well so far with the snow, the continued hype is starting to affect employees.
Jason Stephens, logistics manager at CCI, said: “Conditions are undeniably very tough, however we found during the Christmas week that we were able to meet our delivery promises despite the snow, while our retail partners didn’t report any significant problems with any of their other product lines.”
“The problem is that with blanket coverage of the ‘crisis’ across all media, some employees will take one look out of the window and opt against going into work, irrespective of what the actual driving conditions are like.”
CCI has seen one of its partners forced to close its distribution centre due to staff shortages, and anticipates that more temporary closures could occur over the coming weeks should the poor weather continue.
“Of course, driver safety is of the utmost importance to us, and we don’t want anyone taking risks on the road. Each employee just needs to use common sense and check out the conditions properly – hopefully then we’ll all be able to work together to operate ‘business as usual’ and ensure consumers’ retail demands continue to be met,” Stephens added.
However, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport said that the impact of the bad weather has been kept to a minimum and that “innovative and skilled” transport managers and drivers have continued to service the daily needs of industry, retailers and households.
CILT chief executive Steve Agg said: “The problems caused by the continuing snow and ice generate obvious problems for lorry operators and drivers and present the substantial challenge of delivering essential supplies – food, drink, household goods, medicines and health supplies, fuels, and everything else which we take for granted as available every day – in the current appalling weather conditions.
“The bad weather first kicked-off just ten days before Christmas yet our industry was able to ensure that the increased levels of retail deliveries, goods and services, and consumer needs for the holiday were met.
“This week we have seen very substantial disruption to road transport as a consequence of heavy snowfalls throughout the entire UK. Transport managers and lorry drivers face enormous challenges in continuing to deliver goods as close to scheduled times as possible.”
Sainsbury’s stores received all deliveries as usual yesterday, according to the BBC, and Justin King said he expected that to be the case on today, although he predicted some deliveries might be delayed.