Truck Driver Day: Colruyt Group celebrates 25 years of ‘Safety and Courtesy Charter’

Truck Driver Day: Colruyt Group celebrates 25 years of ‘Safety and Courtesy Charter’

New commitments contribute further to sustainable freight mobility

Thursday, December 14, 2023

In 1998, Colruyt Group was the first retailer in Belgium to introduce a ‘Safety and Courtesy Charter’. It was the drivers themselves who took this initiative because they wanted to improve the general image of truck drivers. Now, 25 years later in very different circumstances, Colruyt Group decided to renew the charter together with the drivers. The challenges have become all the greater given the group’s zero-emission transport ambition and continuously increasing urban and home deliveries via Collect&Go.

On Truck Driver Day, Colruyt Group is also shining the spotlight on its more than 800 truck drivers and deliverers on the road. Today is a special show of appreciation, but this attention will continue on an ongoing basis with various initiatives taken by the group together with its drivers. One of which is the renewal of the Safety and Courtesy Charter, a revamped initiative that the group is promoting with its transport partners. Because only by working together is sustainable freight mobility possible.

‘For us, our drivers and deliverers are real ambassadors of Colruyt Group,’ Frederik Muylaert, supply chain division manager at Colruyt Group, comments. ‘All together, they drive some 200,000 kilometres each day. It’s as if they drive four times completely around the world. Each of our trailers is actually 79 m² of circular advertising for Colruyt Group’s brands. So our drivers’ behaviour on the road affects our reputation. Safety must be the top priority and attention to courtesy as well.’ Colruyt Group set down this rationale into a practical charter in 1998. A charter with commitments both for the drivers and the retail group. Together, they add their symbolic signature to live up to our charter every single day.

Changing circumstances requires innovation

In 1996 and 1997, several serious accidents involving trucks made the news. The lowest point was Belgium’s worst road accident ever. On 27 February 1996, a pile-up involving more than 100 trucks and 100 passenger cars occurred on the E17 near Deinze. In 1998, 180 Colruyt drivers decided – with this accident in mind – to boost the overall image of truck drivers by working with management to draft a Safety and Courtesy Charter. The charter’s content has remained virtually unchanged for 25 years. Now, 25 years later, Colruyt Group’s management is updating it. Because our truck drivers are driving in circumstances today that are very different from back then.

Colruyt Group has grown significantly and currently has multiple forms of transport, such as home delivery by Collect&Go drivers and cargo bike deliverers from Solucious. On top of this, a year ago, Colruyt Group announced its ambition to drive completely emission-free by 2035. ‘These are once again new technologies and situations for our drivers. Take, for instance, a quiet electric truck, which should also allow our drivers to continue driving safely through the city,’ Muylaert says. The charter update included drivers’ input, both internal and external. ‘We expect commitment from our drivers. And as a company, we also commit ourselves to providing our drivers with an environment and the resources to do their job the best they can and with pride.’

Sharing knowledge internally and externally

Trainers immerse new drivers in the basics of the Safety and Courtesy Charter during their first weeks as a driver for Colruyt Group. These concepts are also continuously reviewed in different ways during their work as drivers for Colruyt Group. So, safety and courtesy remain high on our community agenda so drivers have everything they need as Colruyt Group ambassadors. And Colruyt Group shares this pursuit of safe and sustainable freight mobility with numerous partners and actors: governments, academics and logistics sector players. This is part of Colruyt Group’s contribution to the European objective ‘Vision Zero’: 0 road deaths by 2050.

Finally, Colruyt Group also invests in raising awareness among the wider public with a specific focus on children. Colruyt Group drivers have been visiting schools for years to help children become aware of dangers on the road. Behind the wheel of a truck, students can learn about and experience the dangers of the blind spot. On average, 10,000 schoolchildren get a session every year.

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