Diesel News wishes you all a Merry Christmas! We send these greetings with a positive image of trucks and trucking. OK, it is an ad for Coke but at least the sentiment is seasonal and the truck is in Australia.
Taking the truck to rural areas is a great idea, going to areas where the entire community knows it is dependant on the trucks working on their highways.
Christmas is here and with all of the bad news around trucks and Christmas, coming out of Berlin, it is our job to show the positive side of the relationship between truck and the community. This is an annual parade, which takes place in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada,. Local truckies cover their trucks with lights and parade through the town in the lead up to the festive season.
Here’s a longer video of the same parade:
Of course, Cocal Cola probably started the craze with its Christmas truck ads:
Here are a couple of videos of Coca Cola trucks in Christmas crowds, the centre of attention.
It’s that time of year again, when we get all sentimental and the TV is full of snow, reindeer and men in red suits. It would seem it also the time for red Coca Cola trucks to appear around the world and bring joy and good cheer to the people of the world (we won’t mention dental problems and obesity).
From the videos it also looks like this is the time of year when communities which would normally protest and complain about more trucks driving on their suburban streets, welcome trucks into their midst with open arms. Perhaps the trucking industry needs to paint all of its trucks red and cover them in fairy lights in order to last mile access!
Merry Christmas to all of our readers, from the team at Diesel News!
Strong growth in employment in some segments of the transport and logistics sector has been highlighted by Labourforce’s Index of Jobs in Transport, Logistics and Supply Chain. According to the survey Victoria recorded a high growth in jobs, at 6.2 per cent. At the same time, there was a 6 per cent fall in Queensland, admittedly from a high base after performing well in the third quarter.
NSW was the weakest performing state across the transport and logistics sector, while at the other end of the spectrum, Western Australia has recorded up to 20 per cent growth in the last quarter. The overall picture saw a 3.4 per cent increase in demand for permanent employees in October.
As we come into the Christmas period demand for temporary staff rises to cope with the rush and, according to the Labourforce Index, demand for temporary and contract labour in transport and logistics was up 6.9 per cent in October.
“While the surge in Christmas hiring is good news for industry workers, the healthy increase in demand for permanent staff is a bellwether for improvements in business confidence and hiring,” said Paul McLeay, spokesperson for the Labourforce Jobs Index.
Transport and logistics jobs growth continues to outperform the overall Australian labour market. The Labourforce Index rose 4.3 per cent to 118.75 in October 2014. Over the same period, the ANZ Job Advertisements Series for October 2014, recorded monthly growth of just 0.2 per cent in October.
Looking over the past six months, a 20.7 per cent increase in the transport and logistics jobs market has been possible, despite what was a slow start to the year.
“The data is telling us a story of Victoria setting the pace for the rest of the country, with 22 per cent of the new jobs across all sectors,” said McLeay. “Factors, such as the net impact of a fall in manufacturing demand offset by growth in construction and retail, saw NSW’s share fall to 30.6. Queensland is holding its ground, with a 19.2 per cent share, while Western Australia upped its market share to 18.5 per cent.”
It’s been a long year and it’s nearly Christmas so from the team of Diesel we wish you a merry festive season and a happy new year. This will be the last Diesel post for 2013 but we look forward to bringing you more news next year.
Innovation, Innovation, Innovation, build a better mousetrap, find a way to steal a march on competitors; these are among the elements of what’s required to stay ahead of the pack and therefore remain profitable and viable in the future.
On one of the new models from Scania, the Swedish truck maker has decided to bring back the clutch. Man cannot live on prime mover sales alone – even if they do represent a massive chunk of the new truck market up here. As part of it whole range change, Scania have filled in the remaining gaps in its New Generation line-up. Read more
In 2017, the attitude in the trucking industry with regard to truck leasing is improving; many operators are now looking at the rental option.
When Penske Truck Rental came into the Australian market a few years back the image of this part of the industry did not have the best reputation. However, according to Penske Truck Rental boss Adrian Beach, the market has improved and the offering to operators has improved accordingly. Read more
Just like in any other workshop, high-quality technicians are needed to run a small commercial vehicle workshop designed to cater for vans. It brings a different set of issues to the workshop manager and Diesel News talked to a busy facility in central Melbourne handling Renault vans. Read more
Next Year, we here at Diesel News will be trying to stay positive, despite evidence to the contrary. The only way to go into a New Year is to remain optimistic and work to make it a better year than the last.
This is a tough time of year in the trucking industry. Christmas can’t come soon enough as the pre-Christmas rush pushes so many operations to their limits. The hungry beast, which is consumer demand for goods at this time of year, is insatiable and wants new stock delivered right up to and through the holiday period.
With everyone in the operation pushed to the limit, trucking is trying to get everything delivered before the day and also trying to ensure as many people as possible get a decent Christmas break. I remember, myself, arriving home at 5.15 am on Christmas day, simply because the department which pressed the button to release an order early on Christmas Eve, decided to go out for festive drinks and forgot about my load.
After finally getting loaded in the evening and hitting the road for home, after three weeks away, I got into bed, closed my eyes and immediately got woken up by a seven year old and a five year old wanting to start opening presents. So many people working in trucking will have similar stories to tell, and worse.
As a result, this time of year is stressful and rushed, we are all fatigued. In this state, it’s difficult to get excited and optimistic about anything, apart from rest and recreation. However, we do have to look ahead and it is always better to go into the New Year with a bright outlook.
The situation is much better than last year. Although the penny hadn’t dropped for most people, the RSRT Determination and all of its consequences was already on the books, this week last year, and preparing to hit the owner drivers and small fleets hard in March. Those problems have gone away to a large extent, but the TWU is still chipping away at the issue, especially in NSW.
As a whole, 2016 has seen progress on many fronts, all of which should be of benefit to the trucking community. There is more access agreements in place, more PBS trucks on the road, the prospect of more consistency in roadside checks in view and some form of roadworthiness regime, we can all live with, on the cards.
On the wider scale, the lean times seem to be easing off a bit for many operators. The prolonged plateauing of economic activity is showing signs of an uptick in a number of areas. Heavy duty truck sales have increased in the last couple of months, a sure sign something is in the wind. We can also take heart from how the trucking industry pulled together to fight the RSRT and get a result.
So let’s hope all of our dreams come true, or, rather more pragmatically, progress is made for trucking in the coming twelve months. This just leaves me to say a Merry Christmas to you readers and, All the Best in the New Year!
Topics covered this week in Diesel News include Enforcement, Elections and the State of Our Roads, as the year comes to a close.
Proposals to increase the enforcement and investigative powers for State and Territory law enforcement must come with ongoing training for law enforcement officers, according to NatRoad in its submission to the National Transport Commission.
“The road transport industry throughout Australia already struggles with inconsistencies in how law enforcement officers interpret the prescriptive and complex National Heavy Vehicle Law,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “The intent of the proposed new powers is an important step to improving safety, particularly where evidence gathering could reveal early trends in a driver’s record or a business operations that could be leading towards a serious incident.
“Yet the proposed new power to investigate drivers and businesses raise a number of privacy issues for businesses and individuals which need further consideration. In particular law enforcement officers should issue warnings to drivers and operators about their rights before exercising coercive powers.”
The sentiment was echoed in the Submission from the Australian Trucking Association, calling for investigative powers in the national truck law to be simplified and streamlined. ATA Chair, Noelene Watson released the ATA’s submission to the NTC review of the investigative and enforcement powers in the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
“In the ATA’s view, the inconsistent investigative powers in the law will inevitably lead to confusion and challenges to the admissibility of evidence,” said Watson. “The problems created by these inconsistencies will only come to light fully when an injustice is done to someone in the industry or a prosecution fails because of technical legal issues. Neither outcome is acceptable to the ATA, so it needs to be fixed now.
“Our submission recommends that the information gathering powers in the HVNL should be simplified and streamlined. In addition, we recommend that all of the investigative powers in the law should be subject to a codified warning provision.”
Trucking operators can vote for their representatives on the General Council of the ATA in 2017. Owner drivers and the operators of small trucking fleets will go to the polls in early 2017 to elect two representatives on the General Council, one for owner/drivers and the other for small fleets.
Voter registrations will open January 18 2017 and candidate nominations will open on 25 January 2017. Nominations and voter registrations will both close on 22 February 2017.
“The ATA Council debates and sets our strategic policy direction, dealing with issues that impact our industry’s safety, professionalism and viability,” said Noelene Watson. “This election gives owner drivers and small fleet operators the opportunity to have a direct say in who will represent them and their issues on the ATA Council.”
To register to vote in the election, you must own, be purchasing or leasing 1-5 trucks over 4.5 tonnes. You will also need to provide a valid ABN and an email address that is unique to you. To nominate for one the positions, you must be registered to vote in the ATA election and be a member of an ATA member organisation.
To nominate for the owner driver position, you must own, be purchasing or leasing one truck over 4.5 tonnes and drive it. To nominate for the small fleet position, you must own, be purchasing or leasing 2 to 5 trucks over 4.5 tonnes.
The state of the roads in Australia has come under scrutiny in the Australian Roads Assessment Program (AusRAP) report. This has identified the Western Motorway from Concord to the M7 in NSW as the worst stretch of road in Australia’s National Highway Network.
AusRAP is an analysis of almost 21,000 kilometres of the National Highway Network using ‘Risk Mapping’, which measures the crash history of a stretch of road over its traffic volumes. The analysis was conducted for crash statistics between 2010 and 2014. A total of 15,627 casualty crashes and 927 deaths occurred on the National Highway Network over that period.
The best performing stretch of road in NSW was the Sturt Highway from Wagga to Narrandera.
Alarmingly, two major Sydney roads featured in the top 10 with the Hume Highway from the South Western Motorway to Narellan Rd ranked third worst road in Australia.
Notably, upgrades to the motorway conducted by the Australian and NSW Governments since 2014 are expected to see its performance improve.
“In a year that has seen a horrific increase in the road toll it is perhaps fitting that this report was released in time for Christmas by the NRMA and our sister clubs across Australia,” said Peter Khoury, an NRMA Spokesperson. “Motorists in NSW can take heart from the results of this report, because of the top 10 worst highways in NSW most, such as the Pacific Highway, Western Motorway and Great Western Highway, have upgrades underway, which will improve the safety of these roads and save lives.”
Getting the industry more united and more proactive is the aim of Warren Clark in pushing forward the trucking agenda. Moving ahead with NatRoad is now the task for Clark, who took over as CEO at the Canberra HQ of the National Road Transport Association, better known as NatRoad last year. Read more
The theme of this week’s NatRoad Conference is ‘Knowledge is Power’, one of those catchall types of phrase which can be interpreted many ways. In this particular case, the implication is clear. If the trucking industry learns one thing from 2016, it should be about keeping everyone in the industry informed.
One of the reasons the whole RSRT managed to slip under the radar and hit many in the industry by surprise at the last minute, in some cases, was because we are not very good at information in trucking. Rumour and misinformation abound in an industry used to working in isolation in thousands of separate silos.
We are not very good at talking to each other and even worse at passing on information when we get it. Such a diverse industry with thousands of operations from the massive nationals to the huge numbers of small mum-and-dad firms seem to be oblivious of each other.
Trucking people are used to working in small groups, where co-operation is mutually beneficial, but have a problem communicating their problems to a wider audience. This behaviour pattern has grown up over many years and will continue, unless we do something about it.
If everyone who was going to be affected by the last order put out by the RSRT had known what was happening in the week or so before Christmas, a lot of grief could have been avoided. Those in the know needed to get the message out to everyone and the possible channels of communication were limited.
Sitting in a meeting called by the Small Business Ombudsman and hearing how many operators only realised what was going on when they picked up something on Facebook in the lead up to the introduction of the order on April 4, was a bit of a wake up call.
We did demonstrate our power as a group, in the end. By the time the abolition became a definitive possibility the industry had mobilised, and anyone not aware of what was going on must have been living under a rock.
Happening in the early stages of an election campaign certainly helped. The politicians were particularly keen to get their faces out there on the TV saying something to get them back into Parliament. All of a sudden the truckie had lots of friends, who had never acknowledged them before.
As one of those channels of communication, we here at Diesel have to take our share of the blame. Could we have got the story out any better? Probably. Did we learn lessons about what it takes to talk to the trucking industry? We certainly did.
Knowledge is power, and we need to remember that when we communicate with each other. Passing on knowledge also imparts power to the receiver. If we can get talking to each other right, just think what the trucking industry could achieve together.
We have a arrived at a fortunate moment in the development of a truly responsible trucking industry. There is an opportunity to make a real difference and change the paradigm in the way road transport is run and policed. Get it wrong and we will return to the dark ages, get it right and there can be some real gains.
The situation at the moment sees the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator with enough credibility with the Transport Ministers in the States and Canberra to be able to try and drive some real effective change. It has the momentum, for now, to get some of the recalcitrant states and their delaying tactics, put back in their box. Read more
The Australian Stock Exchange have received another notification of a substantial change in interest from Linfox. The latest notice shows the percentage of shares in the K&S Corporation owned by Linfox is now closing in on ten per cent.
This follows a previous announcement, published just before Christmas last year, in which Linfox revealed it had bought enough shares in the company to have over eight per cent of the voting power.
K&S have taken a hit due to the downturn in some parts of the economy. It told the ASX last week about the fact, one of its largest customers, Arrium has been placed in voluntary administration. K&S explained it had a number of transport and logistics contracts in place with Arrium in relation to the distribution of finished steel products in the eastern states.
However, the statement did point out, K&S does not have any transport or logistics contracts aligned to the Whyalla steel making operations nor to Arrium’s iron ore mining operations. The company said it is currently in discussions with the administrator of Arrium regarding the ongoing provision of transport and logistics services to the Arrium Distribution Business.
K&S has a number of operations, especially in Western Australia, linked to the resources industry and these have seen lower activity levels as mining activity slows. Falling commodity prices sees miners pulling their collective heads in. This has effected both new projects and current mining operations, both of which are served by K&S.
The single entity, which is K&S, now comprises the various parts of the Scott’s group of enterprises and recently released its half year results. The after tax loss of $88.4 million for K&S, in the six month period up to December 31, is 56 per cent worse than the same result last year, but better than the predicted 75 per cent, as announced in guidance to the stock market in November last year.
The trucking industry needs some kind of stability if it is to continue to improve and grow, as the Australian economy needs it to do. Any growth in the Australian economy stimulates an even bigger increase in the freight task, most of which the trucking industry has to pick up. Conversely, constriction on growth in the trucking industry can also lead to a throttling back of economic growth, if supply chain bottlenecks begins to appear.
Any growth needs a stable regulatory climate in which to work. The recent years have seen a steady advance towards a clear regulatory system of some sort, with the arrival of a pragmatic and effective National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. Progress was being made and we could see a clear future path ahead of us.
Now the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has put a spanner in the works destabilising the whole thing to a point where we are worse off than ten years ago. In fact, it is the way the Tribunal itself is acting which is causing the most problems.
No-one has any idea whether they are coming or going.The most recent order from the RSRT has left everyone’s operation hanging on a set of rules which are unclear and simply destabilising.
Talk to suppliers to the industry, the trailer industry has seen orders dry up in recent months. No-one is willing to commit to a new piece of capital equipment, if the subbie system collapses. It may not happen, but it might. That’s enough.
Others are reporting similar apprehension. A massive proportion of the trucking industry has been targeted by the order, owner operators and small operators. Even if your transport business doesn’t deal with anyone covered by the Order, somewhere in the supply chain there will be someone who is.
In fact, most people in the trucking industry do not know whether they are or are not included in the umbrella definitions of those covered by the Order. What we can all be sure of is, the full implementation of the Order right now will be incredibly disruptive.
Trucking will be thrown into disarray, the supply chain will be disrupted and the general public may well see the supply of some goods dry up quite quickly, always a recipe for disaster.
When this kind of stuff hits the airwaves, on our news bulletins etc, its will probably be seen as the truckies’ fault, it always is. An industry which craves stability and certainty will be branded as the cause of instability and the reason for a blip in Australia’s economic growth.
It’s almost as if the RSRT’s Contract Driver Order was designed to cause instability. Surely that couldn’t be the case?
The details of the Order were first released on the Friday before Christmas. Industry reaction got caught up in the industry’s busiest time of the year, followed by the holiday period. For the politicians in Canberra, the holiday period lasts past the end of January.
There was no traction to be made in the first six weeks after the Order’s announcement, but it was due to come into effect on April 4. This hasn’t left much time for any negotiations or submissions to be made.
Now the last month or so has seen the scenarios change again, where the RSRT has dangled the carrot of a delay in implementation until next January, but its has been by no means certain. Destabilising? Yes indeed. Good for the economy? Absolutely not.
It looks like the infamous ‘Order’ put out by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal just before Christmas last year may be put onto the back burner, but the trucking industry needs to keep the pressure on to guarantee a delay. NatRoad did its bit this week with an appearance in front of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, emphasising the unfair nature of the rates regime which would follow any implementation of the Contract Drivers Order.
NatRoad’s Policy Director, Grant Johnson, kept the debate concentrated on the essential issues at the heart of this matter, during the hearing. This is the level of concentration the trucking industry needs to maintain for the next few years, in order to keep reform on track and prevent more road blocks to productivity being formed.
The immediate issue is the one around the RSRT and, yes, we need to keep up the intensity and ensure the proposed delay in implementation actually takes place. However, it doesn’t stop there, there are plenty of other areas where the trucking industry, as a whole has to keep up its targeted efforts.
The general consensus is the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is a good thing and making real progress. It is also up against it when trying to break down the walls set up by the bureaucracy to frustrate its more progressive ideas. This is where we can help, we are the subject matter experts here and can talk to anyone who will listen about the need for change and the effectiveness of the changes the NHVR is proposing.
This process also needs trucking to do more than just keep its nose clean for the next few months. There must be no box ticking, she’ll be right mate thinking allowed. The only way reform is going to come to fruition is when government are comfortable about the way trucking regulates itself.
Many of the reforms being led by the NHVR depend on the existence of a responsible industry, not a bunch of operators doing the paperwork to get their accreditation and then operating in a way which would compromise the genuine integrity of the scheme they have joined.
Having the sticker on the door is not enough, any more. If stories of operators flaunting the rules for economic gain filter down through the system, the forces lined up to frustrate progress, especially in state authorities, will be able to persuade ministers not to sign off on the next stage of national integration.
We cannot afford to let this happen. We are too far down the track and are starting to see a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, is the time for concentrated effort to ensure our wayward brethren are pulled back into line and genuinely embrace a new culture of compliance and responsible operation.
The week before Christmas was chosen as the time to announce a major shift in the way driver rates are set. At 4.20 pm on Friday December 18, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal announced its latest order, this time minimum payments for contract drivers. Read more