Thomas Kent has been named as the UK’s top driver in logistics, after a nationwide competition organized by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK’s largest membership association in freight and logistics.
Kent, who works for Samworth Brothers Supply Chain in Derby, today (29 November 2017) scooped the overall FTA Driver of the Year 2017 title, to add to his FTA 44 tonne Driver of the Year accolade, which he won in September.
“Reaching the top of your profession is something that many of us strive for, but few attain,” says June Powell, FTA’s Director of Operations. “From Olympic medallists to Oscar-winning actors, successful business leaders and entrepreneurs, peak performers inspire others to emulate them – and this is what Thomas does. Throughout this year’s Driver of the Year competition we have been overwhelmed by the quality and professionalism of the UK’s logistics drivers, but Thomas has rightfully gained the top prize. His skill, knowledge and understanding of the rigours of today’s logistics industry were a credit to him and his employer, and we are delighted to acknowledge his efforts with today’s award. He really is the crème de la crème!”
Kent received the overall FTA Driver of the Year award after registering the highest marks of the three category winners (44 tonne, 18 tonne and Van Excellence driver), which were all judged against the same criteria. And, as Ms Powell continues, his pride in his role is a great testament to the support of his employer Samworth Brothers, as well as the variety and knowledge which it requires on a daily basis.
“Reaching the top as a logistics driver is challenging and time consuming, but the sense of purpose and satisfaction from a job done well is unparalleled. What other job supports every single sector of our economy, from manufacturing and retailing to construction and leisure? Without drivers like Thomas, Britain would find it hard to trade both at home and abroad – they are the unsung heroes of the UK’s economy, and should be celebrated.”
More than 100 drivers entered the three categories of the FTA’s Driver of the Year competition, which were sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans (Van Excellence), Bridgestone Tyres (18 tonnes) and Mercedes- Benz Trucks (44 tonnes). Contestants were assessed against a strict set of criteria which tested understanding of risk assessment, legislation and pre-use defect checks, as well as driving style, manoeuvring and economical driving.
“Pinch me, I’m the FTA’s Driver of the Year 2017 – I can’t quite believe it,” said Mr Kent after the prize presentation, which took place at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. “The competition was incredibly tough, but hugely rewarding, and really tested every part of my working life. To be recognized in this way is a real bonus and a testament to the support and training I have received from my employers Samworth Brothers. Thank you to them, and to my family, for all their help and encouragement through this process – I am literally on top of the world!”
FTA, which co-ordinated the competition, is the largest and most influential membership association in the freight and logistics sector, a sector which employs 2.54 million people in the UK where its turnover exceeds £1 trillion every year. The association has more than 16,000 member companies, which operate over 220,000 lorries (half the UK’s fleet). Established in 1889, FTA’s members move goods by road, rail sea and air, consign over 90% of the UK’s freight moved by rail, and 70% of the nation’s goods moved by sea and air.