Day 3 - Revenge of the Docks

Love reading your accounts loads of enthusiasm and you seem to be getting the hang of it. Don’t worry about the reversing it does come with practice and having to take a shunt is fine hitting something or worse somebody is not, always verge on the side of caution. I was told and easy way how to remember which way to turn the wheel when reversing, if you want to straighten up steer in to the mirror with the most trailer in it and to tighten the turn steer away from the mirror with the most trailer in it.

I think that the adage ‘no 2 days are the same’ is very true in trucking; even for the most straightforward of jobs.

Today I turned up at 6.15 as instructed, and again piloted the passenger seat to the docks; this time because Vic said that he had got bored yesterday and fancied a change. We had container numbers for 3 containers all to come out of Killingholme. So we got there with an empty container and booked it in (7am) to be told ‘oh the ship isn’t due in til 11’… oh bum looks like a long day :confused: So we wandered back out to the Iveco, and Vic told me to get my backside into the drivers chair. We went through security and dropped the empty, and made our way to Exxtors (Immingham) after calling the office to see if there was a container to get from there instead which there was.

So after getting back to base we spent 2 hours just finding things to do, like jet washing the truck and eating sarnies and laughing at the fitter trying to remove the drum brake off of an old Scania… We tootled back to Killingholme for 11.00, and was told that the boat wasn’t now going to be in until 12; oh well here comes another hour just sitting in front of Seawheel’s office to wait until paperwork was available.

Eventually we got into the docks and was met by a 3 wagon Q for the cranes. So I said to Vic to rest his old bones in the wagon and jogged up to the portacabin with the paperwork. In there, you give the geezer the release note for the container, and he gets on the radio to the crane blokes with a location, and they whizz round get the box, come back and you drive under the box (container) until they toot their horn; you stop and they bang the box on - sound their horn and you pull round then stop and secure the twist locks. Anyhow, the radio came alive with one of the crane blokes saying ‘theres 3 in the Qwhats going on?’, and mateyboy saying ‘dont know, they aint been up with paperwork yet’. He then gave the guy my containers location, and said that my box was on the way. So when I went back down the stairs and round to the wagon one bloke opened his window and asked ‘what do you do here?’ so i briefly told him to take his paperwork upstairs into the portacabin, and as I jumped into the cab saw all the other drivers going up there. So in effect I did jump the Q but not intentionally!

When the container is on you simply spin round and then go out again. I never realised before starting to drive how small a space an artic really needs to spin round in; its amazing really how a little looking gap can be turned round in.

Now, I didn’t really realise yesterday, but there is a lot of photography involved in container work. Simply put, when you roll into the docks you go through a lane and when you stop by the barriers, cameras (CCTV type jobbies) take photos of the container. In Killingholme (but not Immingham), when you check out there is a little camera by the security window and they take your photo as well as the container.

Today was good too because now the office bods at the docks and even some of the crane drivers are starting to recognise me and say hello rather than just a grunt…which is nice :slight_smile:

In terms of the actual driving, today went pretty well, and it was apparant that I did better, as my speed up some hills was better (loaded I mean) so obviously I was using the box better with the high and low switch, and I only managed to crunch it 2 or 3 times instead of the dozen or so yesterday! I am also getting better at turning left and right, judging how far forward and how far over I need to be to make a turn. For example, today I managed to judge a left turn (at a T-junction from the giveway line) to get round without running onto the edge of the kerb or waiting for clear traffic both ways (I mean some cars coming from left whereas yesterday I didn’t think I would be able to get out without using their lane slightly) and so didn’t have to stop, and got a ‘well done son’ from Vic :slight_smile: A little encouragement really does go a long way! I took the fact that he slept all the way from the docks to coming off of the M180 again as a compliment even if the snoring was annoying!

So, now that we were running really late cus of the ship, the gaffer got someone else to run a box back so we only had to go back to Killingholme one more time; so today was a reasonable 10 and a bit hours as opposed to 13 hours yesterday.

Reversing in the yard featured a lot today too, as every time we get a box back we park it up, then swap trailers. Our yard is square, so all the trucks are parked round the perimeter facing into the middle. The first box back was fine as the yard was just about deserted so all I had to do was swing round, get square to the kerb and back up in a straight line. The last one was more tricky as I had to park between 2 containers with about 6 foot clearance to either side.

To be honest I did get a bit confused in my head when looking in the mirror and seeing which way I had to go and then straighten up. It was going ok until I saw one of the office managers was stood in the doorway to the office and got a bit flustered. However with a couple of shunts and some advice from Vic I did get it in there. The thing I was struggling with mainly was deciding which way to turn the wheel to straighten the cab itself when the trailer was straight in; I think I tend to overthink it sometimes. Anyhow I got it in and didn’t clobber anything or anyone so alls well that ends well. When that gaffer said I just need more confidence in myself other drivers did stick up for me saying that they had seen me in the docks and on the road and was doing fine, and Vic told him I was doing well. I took this as a big compliment because it is only my 3rd day with the firm so didn’t expect anyone to stick up for me!

There has been a spanner in the works, in that one of the trucks was stolen 2 nights ago with a full load of Red Bull on board. This means that we are a truck down until the insurance and leasehire firm sort it out so I wont be getting my own lorry just yet. So tomorrow I have my instructions to get to work at 5.30 and take Vic’s truck on my own via the service station to diesel up, drop a container at Killingholme mosey to Immingham and find a container going on a delivery locally, then go back to the yard for 8am and collect Vic then off to Flixborough to deliver it, then back to a normal days shunting. This is to get me out on my own a bit to see if I can cope with the docks etc. So in the morning I’ll have to find a trailer with an empty container on it, couple up (not forgetting to put the lenses in…) and toddle off. I am really looking forward to it, even if it isn’t a long trip as it could present some problems (like fuelling up when I havent done it before and it involves fuel cards !) or the docks being delayed. Fingers crossed that it goes fine :sunglasses:

I’ll let u know tomorrow how it goes!


Nice one Si… sounds like your settling in just fine. :sunglasses:

And out on your own tomorrow eh??.. all I can say Is good Luck mate… :smiley:

brill account and compelling reading keep the stories coming and keep up the good work. best of luck.

Sounds like a decent job Si. I like the stories. Good luck for tomorrow and let us know :wink: .