The practical impact of the compulsory 48-hour working week has not lived up to the industry’s fears but the cost burden is significant, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The association said complying with the Working Time Directive, introduced last April, has not been as difficult as expected. But the overall costs to the transport industry resulting from new schedules, increased wages, increased management time and new systems to record and monitor working time, have been substantial and continue to be an additional burden on businesses, it claimed.

The FTA has arrived at these conclusions, after completing four quarterly research programmes with commercial property consultant NAI Fuller Peiser. FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham said the impact of the changes had been reduced by flexibility within the WTD.

“...the costs, although clearly very substantial following wage increases, revised scheduling, increased bureaucracy and, for 26 per cent of companies surveyed by FTA, the need to employ more personnel, have been contained by a phenomenal effort by transport managers,” Hookham said.