Awards recognise Tyne and Wear’s Freight industry

(L-R) John Bourn (Regional Transport Team), Brian Curtis (A G Barr), Colin Gransbury (A G Barr Depot Manager), Paul Davison (Aecom)

The freight industry took centre stage at the first Tyne and Wear Freight Partnership awards on 4 March 2015.

Recognising talent from across the sector, categories included Freight Driver of the Year, Operator of the Year and a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

Organised by the Tyne and Wear Freight Partnership, the awards celebrate operators and drivers that were felt to have made a significant contribution to the goals of the Partnership.

John Bourn from the Regional Transport Team of the North East Combined Authority commented: “The aim of the Freight Partnership is to promote safe and sustainable freight transport and we felt it was time to recognise drivers and operators who have gone the extra mile to achieve this. It was a tough decision, however, as there are so many excellent freight companies and drivers in the region.”

Ian Rutherford from Abacus Haulage, Shiremoor, took the title of Freight Driver of the Year in recognition of his commitment to reducing fuel consumption and protecting the environment.

Alex Smiles Limited, a waste recycling logistics company based in Sunderland, took the coveted title of Operator of the Year. The judges commended the company’s commitment to the Partnership and their support for the Tyne and Wear Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), including providing time for staff to train as FORS practitioners and hosting associated workshops. The company has also worked with Go Smarter – Tyne and Wear’s sustainable transport programme – on cycling awareness training for its drivers.

The big winner of the occasion was Brian Curtis from soft drinks manufacturer A G Barr in Newcastle who received a special lifetime achievement award. An employee of the company for more than 35 years, Brian has never taken a day’s absence. In that time he is estimated to have driven two million kilometres and delivered three million cases of product.

Nick Clennett, Go Smarter’s SRO and Head of Transport Strategy, Communities and Environment at Gateshead Council, said “The Tyne and Wear Freight Partnership Awards are a great way of recognising and rewarding those individuals and organisations that are leading the way for others and setting a positive example for the freight industry as a whole.”

For more information about the Tyne and Wear Freight Partnership and its inaugural awards, visit