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.
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 £22,000 and £25,000 a year. With experience this can rise to between £25,000 and £40,000.
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
12 Warren Yard
Warren Farm Office Village
Tel: 01908 313360
Delivering your future
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:
Related industry information
The road haulage industry is part of the logistics sector, represented by the Skills for Logistics Sector Skills Council, which also includes: air freight; wholesaling; storage and warehousing; freight forwarding; postal services; and couriers. Logistics is the movement and supply of all goods (or freight) from raw materials, through all stages of the manufacturing process to the delivery of the finished product to companies and consumers. This is known as the ‘supply chain.’ Nearly 2,320,000 people work in the logistics sector, which accounts to 8% of the UK workforce. It has been estimated that the logistics sector is worth £86.54 billion to the UK economy.
Road haulage is the distribution, movement and supply of goods by road. Road haulage, which includes removal services, is the third largest industry in the logistics sector. The amount of freight that was moved in the UK increased by 46% between 1980 and 2007. The majority of the increase is due to goods being moved by road.
- 13% of the logistics sector workforce is within freight transport by road.
- Road haulage now accounts for 68% of all goods moved compared with 53% in 1980.
- A total of 220,000 people are employed in UK road haulage in the UK, which is estimated to be 13% of the entire logistics sector workforce.
- There are 34,000 road haulage workplaces in the UK.
- Freight transport by road employs the smallest proportion of women and people with a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background than other logistics industries.
- 12% of the industry workforce is self‐employed.
Jobs in the industry range from: LGV driver, LGV training instructor, distribution manager, removals worker, road transport manager, van driver, transport planner, transport scheduler, road haulage load planner, drivers mate, supply chain manager, operations manager, yard person, training manager, marketing co‐ordinator, operations director, freight account manager, financial planning manager, general manager.
National and regional data
East Midlands – Of the 156,600 employees working in logistics businesses in the East Midlands, 20,600 work in road haulage. This equates to 13% of the logistics workforce in the East Midlands.
East of England – Of the 186,700 employees working in logistics businesses in the East of England, 28,100 of these individuals work in road haulage. This is 15% of the logistics workforce in the region.
London – Of the 178,800 employees working in logistics businesses in London, 8,900 work in road haulage. This accounts for 5% of the logistics workforce in the region.
North East – Of the 55,000 people employed in logistics businesses in the region, 9,900 people are employed in road haulage. This is 18% of the logistics workforce in the region.
North West – Of the 193,400 people working in logistics businesses in the North West, 31,300 people are employed in road haulage. This accounts for 16% of the logistics workforce in the region.
South East – Of the 256,300 employees working in logistics businesses in the region, the road haulage industry employs 21,800 employees. This equates to 8% of the logistics workforce in the region.
South West – Of the 135,100 employees working in logistics businesses in the region, 15,700 work in road haulage. This accounts for 12% of the logistics workforce in the region.
West Midlands – Of the 187,500 employees working in logistics businesses in the region, 26,100 work in road haulage. This accounts for 14% of the logistics workforce in the region.
Yorkshire and the Humber – Of the 158,100 employees working in logistics businesses in the region, 23,300 work in road haulage. This accounts for 15% of the logistics workforce in the region.
[N.B. Data derived from Annual Population Survey, 2008, Annual Business Inquiry, 2007 and Inter‐Departmental Business Register, 2007.]
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