Truck drivers celebrated for steering SPAR toward success

March 14, 2023 IN THE CATEGORY: Awards and prizes, People, Supply Chain

Truck drivers from SPAR convened in Sweden for SPAR International’s inaugural Driver of the Year competition.

Hosted by Scania in Södertälje on 8 and 9 March, drivers from across SPAR came together to compete in three disciplines testing their driving style, manoeuvrability, and safety awareness, all supervised by the Scania test centre team.

Played out in good spirits and with enthusiasm for driving, the competition proved very close. SPAR Norway’s Rikard Sunde won the competition overall, beating Willie Brown from SPAR UK partner CJ Lang into second place in a tense final.

Also from SPAR in the UK, competing for third-place, was Stephen Metcalf from James Hall & Co. who completed the podium, edging AF Blakemore’s Thiago Caires into fourth position.

The competition was held to highlight the value truck drivers play in SPAR’s successful operation, and to promote driving HGVs as a career.

During the two days, drivers and their guests also had the opportunity to visit the Scania assembly factory to see the latest vehicles, and the Scania museum. There was also the opportunity to drive a range of different Scania vehicles on the test track including electric trucks and buses.

Careers in driving

Rikard was very pleased to take part in a competition recognising his profession and the career opportunities within HGV driving.

Speaking about the award, he said: “This has been an amazing experience, and I am both proud and happy to bring the trophy home to Norway.”

Tom Rose, Head of International Operations at SPAR International, said: “Congratulations to Rikard and all the participants in our first Driver of the Year competition. In a tight competition, it is great to see the quality and professionalism of our drivers.

“This competition is important for celebrating the incredibly valuable role that HGV drivers play in the SPAR retail network, ensuring our supply chains are robust, resilient, and meet the needs of our customers every day.”

Evalena Falck, Director of Strategic Account Management at Scania, said: “People sustainability is very high on the Scania agenda as we have a very clear ambition to drive the shift to sustainable transport solutions. We are a proud partner of SPAR who share our ambition to be leaders in sustainability.

“It has therefore been an honour to host the SPAR Driver of the Year competition and we are thrilled to participate in the important dialogue regarding how to optimize the working environment of the very valuable drivers. We are impressed by both the driving skills and the commitment to safety and quality in their work.”

Also during the two-day event, SPAR Austria’s Transport Managers travelled to Sweden to hold their twice-yearly Transport Manager Meeting. A total of 10 delegates from Austria participated, including SPAR Austria’s regional Transport Managers and the Head of Transport, Jörg Bernsteiner.

Topics discussed included the latest innovations in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, wider sustainability topics in transport, and efficiency in transport operations.

Preferred supplier

Scania has been in SPAR International’s Preferred Supplier Programme since 2018, providing transport solutions to SPAR partners in 48 countries across four continents.

The status enables and encourages SPAR partners to purchase Scania vehicles at a more favourable rate to reduce operating costs.

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