An Introduction to the Road Haulage Association
The Road Haulage Association (or RHA) is an organisation dedicated to protecting the interests of those in haulage jobs in the UK.
If you work haulage jobs and you’re based in the UK, the primary organisation representing the interests of your company is the Road Haulage Association, or RHA. The RHA offers advice to its members and campaigns in order to maintain the health of the logistics industry in the UK.
Who Does the Road Haulage Association Represent?
There are some 6,000 companies registered as members of the RHA, accounting for around 80,000 HGVs. Therefore, a large portion of those who work haulage jobs in the UK are linked to the HGV. They are a trade association, meaning that they represent the interests of these companies (as distinct from a trade union, which represents the interests of individual workers). Some members are easily recognisable as they choose to display the RHA logo on their vehicles and other materials, such as banners and brochures.
What Does the Association Do for its Members?
Logistics companies join the RHA for a number of reasons. One of these is advice: the RHA fields 21,000 calls per year (50 to 60 calls per day). Queries can be related to regulations, paperwork, or driver conduct, and are used to both ensure legal operation and maintain professional standards.
Another reason is permission to trade under the RHA’s standards. The RHA’s Conditions of Carriage are a set of standards that members adopt, made to ensure that all reasonable precautions have been taken to maintain a careful, prompt and efficient service. Those taking on haulage jobs often prefer to trade under these standards as they not only boost customer confidence, but have also been known to favourably influence liability and insurance cases. Non-members are not legally allowed to trade under these standards, and there have been cases where limited liability claims have been turned down due to illegal, and therefore invalid, operation under the RHA’s Conditions of Carriage.
There are a number of other member benefits, such as access to the RHA’s legal service, discounted training, and the RHA’s insurance.
What Has the RHA Done Recently?
The RHA has been lobbying against fuel price increases throughout the 2000s, and continues to represent the haulage industry in such matters. More recently, it has achieved government recognition for haulage jobs to be considered part of a vocational career, and at time of writing (February 2016), it is attempting to secure government funding to help train new drivers.
This last proposal is especially important, given the way that demand for haulage jobs is projected to far outstrip supply over the next five years. While larger haulage firms are able to pay for new drivers to gain their HGV licence, smaller firms are unable to do so, and these represent 80% of the vehicles in operation within the UK. Needless to say, government funding would be valuable in helping to close the skills gap.
Meanwhile, the RHA has continued to develop its commercial side, as doing so will strengthen the association by providing an increased cash flow. Whatever the success of this and other projects, the RHA has been, and remains, a powerful force within the UK’s logistics industry.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage jobs with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.