Road transport manager
38 per week
£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.
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.
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:
- 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
Skills for Logistics
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK
Logistics and Transport Centre
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
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