Walking around the Brisbane Truck Show reminds me just how much the trucking industry is about the people. It’s not about the trucks, or the trailers, or the goods being transported, it’s about the people. There are plenty of characters to meet up with milling around the trucks, all of whom have a story to tell, usually slightly modified from last time you heard it.
Looking in from the outside, it probably appears to be about a lot of equipment and a lot of business. Of course, these are vital elements to a trucking operation, good relationships don’t pay the bills, but getting the goods shifted safely and getting paid for it, does.
Then there’s the trucks themselves. Many from outside the industry are intimidated by the sheer size of a truck, from the driver’s seat of their car. The trucks feel even bigger when you stand under or next to them on a display stand. They are great big bit of very expensive metal, which provoke joy in the truckie’s mind and fear in the car driver.
Trucking people also tend to have some pretty robust conversations, there’s very little beating around the bush out on the road, on the loading bay and, also, on the truck stand. Truckies aren’t afraid to ask the dumb questions and get stuck into the answer, if it sounds a little hollow. The way people within the industry talk to each other would probably not go down too well in other workplaces. There’s a robust culture, to put it lightly.
All of this is evident, when walking the halls at the Brisbane Truck Show. The crowd move through the trucks meeting old friends and catching up on everything which has happened since the last show, or acknowledging those we know a little less well.
As someone who started driving in road transport in 1977, this feels like home. This is my tribe and I am stuck with them, whether I like it or not. We talk the same language and come at many issues from a similar perspective. Of course, there is room for a diversity of opinion, but much of this diversity comes from a different interpretation of a set of core values just about everyone involved with trucking can understand.
If the industry has a common failing, it is in being unable to articulate these ideas and values to those outside the tent. Those we deal with, be it the car driving public, the roadside enforcement, consignors and consignees, or whoever, are often bemused or angered by our unexplained actions.
The trucking industry can get over these self-constructed obstacles when needed. This was evident when the industry as a whole got together in the face of the unfair RSRT ruling and had a concise and articulate debate with the rest of society.
People power is there, and very present at events like the Brisbane Truck Show, we just need to work within this culture to get the best out of it, and use it properly.