If you read about the issues which were coming up in this column a year ago, then anyone looking for real change will be severely disappointed. The problem sseem to be eternal, it all changes and remains the same.
Just before Christmas last year the issue was congestion in the city and the government reaction being to prioritise car drivers while completely ignoring the problems facing the trucking industry, which was delivering the goods to enable the cities to function.
This week we find the NSW Government giving toll relief to car drivers but none to trucks using the same roads. Trucking operations are stuck with a choice between increased costs at the toll gate or increased costs as trucks sit in the congestion on the toll-free routes.
Early January saw the truck crash statistics on the horizon as the number of fatalities in multi vehicle accidents involving trucks rose a little after falling for a couple of decades. The spectre of the RSRT was raised as a result and the point had to be made that nearly 90 per cent of all of those accidents were caused by the car.
This week sees the NTI/NHVR initiative reported in Diesel News and the figures are even more telling with the 93 per cent being caused by the light vehicle. The RSRT is also waiting in the wings in some form or other, with the election approaching.
December 2017 also saw the issue of bringing new people into the industry raised. The lack of bright young people choosing trucking is still a major problem and one which needs to be addressed by the whole industry, not just a few enlightened souls.
The initiative was being taken by NatRoad at the time and it has developed a strategy to get a genuine qualification up for those working in the industry to change truck driving from a job to a profession. Let’s hope for some progress on this front in the New Year.
Another big sticking point a year ago and one which remains an issue, was access. This has been a major schmozzle for many years and it is going to take a few years yet of chipping away at the problem to get some sort of rationality on the issue.
Trucks need to go down roads and those roads need to be suitable. Operators spend a lot of money developing the most efficient transport set-up only to be stymied by road managers lacking in knowledge or foresight to allow a particular vehicle on a particular road.
High productivity vehicles will make a major contribution to taking the trucking industry forward and maintaining economic growth, but only when there is rationality and sensible decision making on access.
What’s going to be in store in 2019? Is it going to be the same old, same old? We can only hope there are going to be some significant steps taken to improve the lot of the unloved truckie, but we are not going to hold our breath.
Let’s head off into 2019 with a positive attitude and hope we won’t be discussing the same topics, yet again, in 12 months time.