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Road transport manager

  • Hours

    38 per week

  • Starting salary

    £22,000 + per year

Road transport managers plan and coordinate freight and transport operations on the country’s road network. They make sure that goods and passengers reach their destinations safely, on time and in the most cost-effective way.

To do this job, you’ll need to be well organised and have a good head for figures. You’ll also need to be able to work with people at all levels and meet deadlines.

To get into this job, you can start with a company in a junior post and work your way up to management by gaining promotion. Another option is to study for relevant qualifications before joining a firm’s management trainee scheme.


Work activities

Road transport managers plan and coordinate road haulage, distribution and passenger transport operations, including routes and schedules. They make sure that goods and passengers reach their destinations safely, on time and in the most cost-effective way.

As a transport manager, your duties could include:

  • working with suppliers and customers, planning routes and scheduling delivery times
  • managing a team of supervisors, administration staff and drivers
  • making sure the operation meets its targets
  • coordinating staff training
  • putting together performance reports for directors
  • arranging vehicle maintenance, MOTs and tax payments
  • organising vehicle replacements
  • managing contracts and developing new business

You would also make sure that all operations are carried out in line with UK and EU laws and regulations. These govern vehicle safety, controls on fuel emissions, driver hours, customs requirements, and the transportation of food, livestock and hazardous goods.

Working hours and conditions

You would normally work about 38 hours a week, but this may include shiftwork and weekends to cover 24-hour operations.

Your time would be split between the office, the transport depot and your clients' premises.


Starting salaries can be between £23,000 and £28,000 a year. With experience this can rise to between £28,000 and £45,000.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Entry requirements

A common way into this role is to develop your transport skills as a driver, team leader or administrator, before applying for promotion to road transport manager. Management experience from other industries may also give you an advantage when looking for work.

If you have a foundation degree, HND or degree in a relevant subject, you could try to find a place on a management trainee programme. Relevant subjects include:

  • logistics
  • supply chain management
  • transport management
  • business management

See the UCAS website to search for courses.

For more general information about careers and qualifications in the road transport industry, see the Skills for Logistics and Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK (CILT UK) websites.

Training and development

At least one staff member (usually a manager) in every road transport business is legally required to have the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). You would normally train for this qualification once you start work.

The CPC covers passenger or freight operations and you would train for the Certificate relevant to your business. CILT (UK) has more details about the CPC.

CILT also offers a range of other qualifications covering road transport operations, including:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Green Logistics
  • Level 3 Certificate in Global Logistics
  • Level 5 Professional Diploma in Logistics and Transport
  • Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Logistics and Transport

You can find more information about qualifications and search for training providers on the CILT (UK) website. You can also get information about their membership, including access to continuing professional development programmes, training resources and networking opportunities.

Skills, interests and qualities

As a road transport manager, you would need:

  • strong organisational skills for planning schedules, journeys and loads
  • excellent budget handling skills
  • the ability to think logically
  • the ability to work flexibly and to make decisions quickly
  • excellent communication skills and the ability to deal with people at all levels
  • IT skills
  • good leadership and motivational skills
  • a good understanding of transport regulations
  • good geographical knowledge

More information

Skills for Logistics (Opens new window)

Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK (Opens new window)
Logistics and Transport Centre
Earlstrees Court
Earlstrees Road
NN17 4AX
Tel: 01536 740104



Typical employers include distribution, bus and coach companies, parcel couriers, manufacturers and retail chains, vehicle hire firms and contract fleets.

With experience, you could move between different sectors or specialise in other modes of transport, such as rail, sea or air. You could also move into transport planning and consultancy.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading:

Job market information

This section gives you an overview of the job area that this profile belongs to. You can use it to work out your next career move. It can help if you’re looking for a job now or want to do some further training.

The 'Market statistics' charts are based on figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The list of job vacancies under 'Apply for jobs' is from the Universal Jobmatch database. The vacancies are not from the National Careers Service.

Median income: Sr management
UK Sector
27017 42805
Gender: Sr management
Female Male
30 70
Working pattern: Sr management
Part-time Full-time Self-employed
10 81 9
Gaps in sector due to skills shortages: Sr management
This sector All vacancies
17 23
Employment forecast: Sr management
Forecast Employment Figures
Year Predicted nos. employed
2014 2026000
2015 2066000
2016 2104000
2017 2147000
2018 2191000
2019 2236000
2020 2279000

Jobs available on Universal Jobmatch

DateJob TitleCompany NameLocation
24/09/2016Business Development Manager (European Road Freight)Allthetopbananas.comCastleford
28/08/2016Transport Planning ManagerAllthetopbananas.comIpswich
24/09/2016Major Transport Project ManagerWorkcircleDurham
22/09/2016Operations Supervisor/ManagerLanes Group PLCMaidstone Road, Sevenoaks, Platt
16/09/2016Transport First Line Manager - NightsMyJobMatcher

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