THE continuing geo-political uncertainty in the Middle East, political instability closer to home with the prospect of a General Election this year, along with the economic reverberations of the spreading Middle East crisis, will require more fully engaged proactive fleet management believes tyre and maintenance provider ATS Euromaster.
ATS points out that shipping routes from Asia to Europe are being disrupted by the Houthi rebel attacks on merchant shipping in the Red Sea. This is forcing many shipping carriers to avoid the Suez Canal and take the vastly longer route via South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.
Estimates put the additional fuel cost at $2m (£1.6m) and adds at least a further 10 days to deliveries for vehicle makers already struggling to ramp up supplies hit by restrictions due to Covid and the Russian campaign against Ukraine, where many car components are made. Both Volvo in Ghent, Belgium, and Tesla in Berlin, Germany, have halted production temporarily as a result.
The warning from ATS Euromaster comes as new data from epyx 1 Link highlights the growing age of cars and vans on fleet, with a significant increase in lead times between when a company car or van booking for SMR is created to when the vehicle goes to the workshop – from 11.87 days in 2021 to 12.92 in 2022 and up to 13.74 in 2023.
“This new data emphasises what we have been talking about,” added Jason. “Proactive fleet management is becoming ever more critical to ensure vehicles off road are kept to an absolute minimum.”
“Fleet managers must plan SMR activity in advance as well as MOT requirements as vehicles age. Workshops no longer have the capacity to take short-notice maintenance work.”
Jason added that the backdrop to fleet activity in 2024 would become even more uncertain as the country heads towards a General Election and a potential change in Government. Economic activity could also be enhanced – or otherwise – depending on changes to interest rates by the Bank of England.
“There’s a tremendous amount of ‘background noise’ that is affecting – or will affect – business in 2024. What we’re advising fleet managers is to really focus on proactive fleet management to smooth out what may be significant bumps in the road as the year progresses. A strong handle on SMR requirements booked in advance will undoubtedly help overcome some of the uncertainty that is clouding the future,” Jason added. “No one wants a vehicle off road if possible. Proactive fleet management can ensure that risk is minimised.”
New fleet software called DriverLite has been launched by FleetCheck that can be adopted for free by any business that operates cars and vans.
Chasetown Civil Engineering is running a significantly more efficient fleet thanks to a bespoke solution from CBVC Vehicle Management