Fortec Pallet Distribution Network members made heroic efforts to keep the distribution network up and running during the extreme winter weather which left much of the UK covered in snow and ice for weeks.
Owners and drivers went to sometimes extraordinary lengths to ensure their trucks stayed on the road and reached their destinations – and even helped to rescue other stranded traffic.
Alan Davie, who runs Alan Davie & Son transport from his farm near Forfar, Angus, Scotland, has been officially thanked by Tayside Police for helping them to clear a traffic jam on a trunk road.
When several lorries got stuck on a steep hill on the A90 Forfar to Dundee Road near Petterden, south of Forfar, causing long tailbacks, he went out with his two sons Euan and Ian to help police.
They used their own snowplough and a large farm tractor to help clear the carriageways and get the stranded trucks started again.
"There’s a very steep climb and we were out assisting the police. I was shovelling snow away and we used our own snowplough. You have got to be prepared!" he said.
"There was miles and miles of traffic stuck. We towed the lorries at the front and once we got those ones started, others got on the move."
Police Divisional Commander Colin MacKay has now sent an official letter of thanks, praising his efforts in the "appalling" weather conditions, and saying: "Your assistance did much to ease the work carried out by officers and greatly assisted the risk of further incidents on this road."
Where Davie & Son’s base is, close to the Angus glens, snow lay continuously from late November to mid-January, with compacted ice causing great problems on the roads and at customers’ premises. His drivers often had to help clear snow to enable customers to get their forklift trucks out to unload deliveries.
"Our drivers did a grand job," he said. "Often when they got to deliverypoints, they weren’t open, which was hampering the whole thing. They were going back and assisting forklifts to get out to the lorries.
"We managed to trunk every night. We never missed a trunk from Forfar to Watford Gap. Although we were often running two hours late, but we were still getting through."
Neil Hodgson, Managing Director of Fortec Pallet Distribution Network, said: "I am immensely proud of the efforts made by our members to ensure deliveries were made during the worst winter for a generation.
"At a time when airports were closed, train services cancelled and even motorways blocked with ice, they did all in their power to move goods around the country and keep businesses running.
"They worked long hours in cold and difficult conditions and even went as far as clearing public roads to assist other drivers. We all hope the big freeze does not return, but if it does I know I can count on them to keep the Fortec Pallet Distribution Network delivering."