Trying to Stay Positive

Remain Vigilant

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!