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Paul Cooling, a driver for J. Medler Haulage of Norwich, has attributed his wellbeing to the design and safety features incorporated in the Volvo cab of the FH tractor unit he was driving following a horrific road traffic accident on 22 March 2016.

The accident, which happened on the eastbound carriageway of the A14 near Welford in Northamptonshire, saw the nearside of the cab sustain heavy impacts to both front and rear as Paul jack-knifed against the central reservation on what is arguably one of the UK’s busiest sections of dual carriageway.

“After the initial impact I remember trying to jack-knife so as not to cross the central reservation,” says Paul. While his actions almost certainly prevented him from crossing into on-coming traffic, they also meant the cab took a significant blow to the rear from his own trailer, which at the time was fully loaded with Thermalite blocks.

“I have to say I was absolutely amazed at the integrity of the cab after such a big accident,” says Paul. “Before this accident I really liked Volvo trucks. Now I love them! They’re the best truck in the world and I honestly believe I’m still here thanks to the safe design and build quality of Volvo.”

The accident forced the closure of the A14 in both directions for several hours. The westbound carriageway was shut to enable the air ambulance to land in order to attend to Paul.

Paul returned to work just three weeks later with a scar running from above his left eye up across his forehead the only sign of the horror that struck that afternoon. “I’m as fit as a fiddle now,” he says. “I had thirty stitches to tidy up the wound to my head, but the scar’s already healing over and I’m just glad to be back at work.”

Paul’s boss and Managing Director at J. Medler Haulage, Dean Medler adds: “I have to say I was surprised that Paul walked away with comparatively minor injuries after such a serious accident. We were all delighted when he returned to work within just three weeks. I believe this accident has reassured me and our drivers that Volvo trucks are indeed the safe choice and I am therefore glad that our entire fleet bears the iron mark!”

“Despite the severity of my accident, the cab of the nine-year-old Volvo FH stood up to the impact sufficiently well that, once my seatbelt was released, I was able to exit the cab via the offside door virtually as normal,” says Paul.

As for advice following his accident he adds: “Always double-check that you’re wearing your seatbelt properly and drive a Volvo!”

Muller LCS, manufacturer of both innovative equipment and material load containment solutions has launched an economical solution for wrapping pallets with its new RaptorTM HPL high profile turntable stretch wrapper. The Raptor HPL is “an intuitive and reliable wrapper that has the additional benefits of having Muller’s popular branding tool, Logo WrapTM, and a roping device built in”. Logo Wrap, previously only available as an option for the Octopus line of ring stretch wrappers, will promote one’s brand on pallet loads, reduce tampering of product with its one-of-a-kind film, shield product visibility and can be applied anywhere on the load. In addition, Logo Wrap minimalizes waste and labor typically involved with hand-applied stickers and labels and maintains its durability by withstanding the outdoor elements. The roping device feature further ensures greater load containment by tying the load to the pallet.

The heavy-duty, semi-automatic machine, which can wrap up to 35 loads per hour, has an elevated turntable platform (ideal for high debris and harsh environments), intuitive controls and an easy-to-use interface. Furthermore, the patented strain gauge technology allows for electronic film feed and optimised handling on pallet load corners. The turntable also contains a lubrication free power pre-stretch carriage with variable pre-stretch levels from 100% to 300%, guaranteeing users optimal film usage while preventing film breaks and product damage.

The analysis found that the value of completed M&A transactions in 2016 will pass the 2015 mark, which rose for the third consecutive year, to a total of £48 billion. Further transactions worth approximately £66 billion were announced, hitting a record level of M&A activity in the sector in 2015.

The upcoming year will remain active in terms of investments with three main trends identified as drivers, according to KPMG:
1) ASPAC will continue to attract investments as a source of new growth
ASPAC targeted acquisitions contributed to 55% of announced transaction values in 2015, and we expect this trend to continue reflecting underlying demographics, and the search for new markets. Landmark transactions announced in 2015 included: the operating concession for Kansai and Osaka Airports valued at £11.7bn; the acquisition of Australian rail and port operator Asciano for £4.3bn; and Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines acquisition by CMA CGM for £1.4bn.

2) Asset-heavy and asset-light business model convergence in Freight & Logistics
The total value of completed Freight & Logistics M&A transactions have more than quadrupled from £7.2bn in 2013 to £31.4bn in 2015, and further transactions worth approximately £33.2n were announced during the year.

Asset-light logistics operators with advanced IT systems have, in recent years, been popular acquisition targets for large logistics providers and freight forwarders. However, we increasingly see that that “leaner” logisticians are looking for assets and (reliable) networks to supplement their services. Examples include the acquisition of US logistics company Coyote Logistics (high-tech / asset-light business model) by UPS worth £1.2bn, and the takeover of the French forwarder Norbert Dentressangle by XPO Logistics for £1.8bn.

Following the £3.3bn acquisition of TOLL Logistics by Japan Post in 2015 (which will transform the business model of the postal service operator towards a full-service logistics provider); the anticipated completion of the FedEx TNT deal (£3.1bn) will set the basis for another big year in M&A.

3) Alliancing and partnership models will continue to evolve where M&A can’t
M&A activity in the airline sector remained relatively low in 2015 (at £3.1 billion completed transactions) which is primarily because of restrictions imposed by foreign ownership restrictions and regulation. In the meantime, airlines will continue to evolve their business models and levels of co-operation towards alliancing and partnership to optimise their network, provide increase passenger choice, and pursue growth. Examples of new alliances in 2016 include the JV between Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, and the alliance between IAG and LATAM.

James Stamp, UK head of transport at KPMG said: “We expect investment activities in the transport and logistics sector to remain high driven by the search for growth; changes in demographics and supply chain; evolution of business models; increased focus on customer proposition, and changes to the regulatory environment.

“With interest rates remaining low, returns on asset acquisitions remain attractive. We expect that further investments this year will see transactions to significantly exceed £52bn on the basis of announced transactions alone.”

Note: All figures quoted are translated from USD into GBP using an average exchange rate for 2015.