Port operator criticised over vehicle fault

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A PORT operator has been given a formal warning after issues were discovered with how it operated its vehicles.

Seaham Harbour Dock Company appeared before Kevin Rooney, the traffic commissioner for the North East, when an inquiry was sparked after a check to one of its vehicles.

The incident happened in December, when an examination found a problem with the anti-locking brake of a trailer, which was classed as a significant maintenance failure.

The findings of the investigations carried out by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Vosa) have been considered and led Mr Rooney to issue the warning.

During the hearing, in Leeds, he told the firm he was taking no regulatory action, but recorded three undertakings in relation to vehicle maintenance.

The pledges, attached to its licence to operate the vehicles and agreed by the company, are to undertake an audit of its drivers once a week, ensure they are carrying out checks regarding the state of the vehicles, carry out a rolling brake check on the trucks every three months, and bring in an independent auditor once a year to check its efforts.

After the hearing, Mr Rooney said: “Seaham Harbour Company demonstrated it had complied with the undertaking to train drivers and all employed drivers were well on their way to achieving their own Certificates of Professional Competence.”

The licence held by company authorises the use of 18 heavy goods vehicles and 20 trailers from its Cargo Durham Distribution Centre.

Solicitor Jonathan Backhouse, for the dock firm, said: “The Traffic Commissioner recognised that the issues which were causing him concern had been properly addressed by the operator, and he stated he was impressed by what the operator had done to improve the situation.”

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