Treasury Secretary Danny Alex–ander heard at first hand the pressures affecting the district’s freight businesses.
And the spiralling cost of fuel was one of the topics discussed.
The Cabinet member visited WH Malcolm’s depot in Laurieston Road, Grangemouth, last Thursday where he was given a tour of the facilities by managing director Jim Clark and his staff.
Afterwards, he granted The Falkirk Herald an eight minute interview where he revealed Malcolm’s had impressed him with its successful set-up.
He said: “The UK Government has started the second phase of its Growth Review which will look at what can be done to help private sector businesses grow and grow jobs. One of the areas being looked at is the logistics industry and the Martin Group is one of the premier in its field in Scotland and across the UK.
“It’s not just about carrying goods from A to B, it’s much more than that and helps the economy to flourish, as well as providing employment for 2000 people.”
Asked if the Coalition Government intended to do anything about the rising price of petrol for both business users and private motorists, he said: “At the Budget in March we reduced fuel duty by 1p for the first time in many a long year. We also cancelled the fuel duty escalator which added one penny on top of inflation annually and all that hopefully helps relieve some of the pressure.”
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury also acknowledged that reducing carbon emissions was a big issue for the transport industry.
He added: “This company spends a lot of time and effort on training for its drivers which clearly brings financial and environmental benefits. This is also an integrated road and rail site which also helps by taking traffic off the road.
“Malcolm’s is a family firm and there is a real commitment and a very good culture to the business. It’s all pretty impressive stuff.”
WH Malcolm offers fully-integrated road, rail and warehousing services. It carries freight, including glass, newsprint, magazine paper, chemicals and drinks from its Grangemouth depot, using 350 tractor units and 1200 trailers, as well as 60 trains a week.
Mr Clark said: “This was a very useful visit. Mr Alexander was informed and asked a lot of meaningful questions and hopefully got some of the answers he was looking for.
“I am always happy to discuss the problems and challenges the industry has and progress things forward.”