This week I sat in on a meeting in Perth of the great and the good in the freight industry and was regularly told how everything is different in WA. As the group ploughed through the problems and possible solutions for trucking in Western Australia I was struck by how similar the problems are that we face all over Australia, not how different they are.
A long running wrangle in Melbourne’s Inner West over truck access should reduce in intensity with the VTA and MTAG able to fix a problem with common sense. The Victorian Transport Association and the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group have sat down together and come up with an agreement to allow accredited trucks more access to the roads around the Port of Melbourne while curtailing access for unaccredited trucks.
Governments are very good at making promises, not so good, sometimes, on delivering on promises. This week Michael McCormack, the Deputy Prime Minister, talking at the NatRoad Conference in Hamilton Island delivered on and added to the promise made five years ago to fund roads and parking bays for the trucking industry.
The plan is to introduce a new Heavy Vehicle National Law, once the National Transport Commission has reviewed it, but wouldn’t it be better to go about fixing the real problem? The statements by industry stakeholders show little faith the new law will solve our current issues.
After the ridiculous shenanigans in Canberra this week we have to ask ourselves the question, is political instability good or bad for trucking? It looks like the country is about to head into a free-fall situation with the Prime Minister’s job in doubt, the election date in doubt and the prospect of a good six months where nobody’s hand seems to be on the tiller.
In the immortal words of Jerry Maguire in his eponymous film, “Show Me The Money!” Now, we can assume Jerry is no relation to Ben Maguire, Australian Trucking Association CEO, but we can assume Ben was happy with the recent announcement on safety funding by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
The survey released this week by ANZ analysing the trucking industry shows us the smaller operations in the industry need to start getting smarter. As margins are squeezed by the general economic conditions, the big boys in the industry can afford to wait it out and take a lower margin in their overall business.
After the media reported the ride sharing company Uber would be dropping it’s driverless truck program, the general public probably believe they will hear no more about autonomous trucks. They may be right, they may be wrong. Autonomous trucks might not appear in the general media, but they will be big in the plans of the truck makers and the trucking industry.
One of the most important aspects of getting it right in the trucking world is for government and industry to make sure we know what we don’t know. Two stories in this week’s newsletter illustrate this point very well.
With Performance Based Standards we started off with a fantastic idea. We Australians are very good at great ideas. Then came the part where drilling down to the details created the basic tenets of the scheme and how it would work.