Freight News: RFNSW conference to answer media critics of truck safety and much more

Media goes after truckies in NSW over safety: Come to the RFNSW Safety/CoR Conference to safeguard yourself from these attacks…

Over the weekend, the Sydney Morning Herald published this story:

http://www.smh.com.au/interactive/2017/truck-safety-australia/

RFNSW would have liked the opportunity to put our members’ viewpoints to the publication and allow readers the ability to assess some of the facts about truck safety. As a consequence, we put to the Sydney Morning Herald the following view of our membership:

“We would have appreciated the opportunity to have some input into the articles to give our members’ perspectives on truck safety. After all, they balance safety and compliance, with their cost imperatives, as few others do,” Mr O’Hara said today.

“RFNSW meets with our members and stakeholders like RMS and NHVR regularly to raise any issues we have around safety policies and compliance, with strategies then developed and implemented, as part of our commitment to heavy vehicle safety on NSW roads.”

The RFNSW annual conference, to be held in Sydney on 1 November, will focus on how carriers can gain the knowledge and expertise to successfully operate under the new CoR, ensuring that safety and compliance is at the centre of their businesses.

Read the 11 September 2017 issue here

Media release: Safety and compliance: top priorities for carriers

With new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws commencing next year, peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) continues to work with its members and industry stakeholders to ensure safety and compliance are front and centre of the daily operations of heavy vehicles on our roads.

Responding to weekend media reports about concerns over truck safety, RFNSW General Manager Simon O’Hara says “our members who have worked in the industry for many years have always, and will always maintain, that safety on the road network is paramount.”

“We would have appreciated the opportunity to have some input into the articles to give our members’ perspectives on truck safety. After all, they balance safety and compliance, with their cost imperatives, as few others do,” Mr O’Hara said today.

“RFNSW meets with our members and stakeholders like RMS and NHVR regularly to raise any issues we have around safety policies and compliance, with strategies then developed and implemented, as part of our commitment to heavy vehicle safety on NSW roads.

“Amendments to CoR laws commencing in mid-2018, means that drivers will be required to undertake daily checks of their trucks, assess any operational risks and ensure they are fully compliant, otherwise businesses will suffer. We’re sending the message that everyone in the supply chain has a role to play, not just carriers.

“RFNSW also believes that the adoption of new technologies and ongoing public education campaigns focusing on road safety overall, will assist in curbing preventable accidents and fatalities.”

The RFNSW annual conference, to be held in Sydney on 1 November, will focus on how carriers can gain the knowledge and expertise to successfully operate under the new CoR laws, ensuring that safety and compliance are at the forefront of their businesses. For more information about the RFNSW conference, go to www.roadfreight.nsw.com.au.

Media Release: RFNSW seeks a ‘please explain’ on new air cargo tax

Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has sought an urgent meeting with QUBE Logistics to clarify how its new ‘International Terminal Fee’ will impact on truck companies transporting air freight cargo.

QUBE has advised that from October 9, it will impose a $30 fee at its container freight station terminals in Sydney and other capital cities, blaming “higher rent, land tax and energy costs, increased labour and property maintenance costs.”

General Manager Simon O’Hara said RFNSW had already written to QUBE, requesting an urgent meeting in order to receive further details on the new surcharge.

“There’s been no consultation with RFNSW, so it’s important that we sit down with QUBE and ask them for a please explain,” Mr O’Hara said.

“QUBE has advised that that the fee will be payable at the time a shipment is collected and billed per gate pass, but we still need clarification about how it’s actually going to work.

“We’re obviously concerned that any additional impost will cause further cash flow issues for our members who have already experienced financial losses as a result of recent port taxes unjustifiably imposed on them by stevedores.

“RFNSW is asking QUBE to engage with industry before this new fee is added to supply chain costs,” Mr O’Hara said.

Freight News: RFNSW Drives Expansion of Heavy Vehicle Industry Trial; RFNSW and WARTA join Forces; Johnstons Transport; ATA Council Meeting, and more.

After a limited trial involving select carriers, all operators using the Performance Based Standards (PBS) 2B scheme can now apply to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator for an access permit for the transportation of containers in and out of the port. Currently, approved trucks and their combinations can only utilise select PBS road networks.

We believe the use of the PBS scheme has proven to be highly effective in improving efficiencies in the freight supply chain for our members.

With planning now underway for the next stage of the trial, RFNSW will be holding talks with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), Transport for NSW, NSW Ports and other industry stakeholders at a meeting at Port Botany on Wednesday 6 September.

RFNSW and WARTA join forces
Last week, RFNSW joined forces with its interstate counterpart, the Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) in a renewed fight against unjustified landside surcharges imposed by stevedores at ports across the country.

I met with WARTA Executive Officer Cam Dumesny last week, and we observed freight movements in and out of the Port Botany terminals, seeking feedback from carriers about the impact the new levies were having on their day to day operations.

When asked by the media about our collective associations’ views, I told them:
“In NSW and WA, truck operators, particularly the smaller, family-run businesses, are hurting. Accordingly, RFNSW and WARTA will make a joint submission to the ACCC, again calling for an investigation and independent umpire to review any financial charges.”

Read the 4 September issue here.

Media release: PEAK TRANSPORT BODIES JOIN FORCES TO FIGHT TRUCK TAXES

Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has joined forces with its interstate counterpart the Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) in a renewed fight against unjustified landside surcharges imposed by stevedores at ports across the country.

RFNSW General Manager Simon O’Hara met with WARTA Executive Officer Cam Dumesny today, observing freight movements and out of the Port Botany terminals and getting feedback from carriers about the impact the new levies were having on their day to day operations.

“In NSW and WA, truck operators, particularly those smaller, family-run businesses, are hurting,” Mr O’Hara said.

“RFNSW and WARTA have now decided to use our collective strength in bringing the stevedores to account, for the sake of our members.

“Again, we make the point that at ports across the country, stevedores have imposed these taxes on hardworking truck operators without any regulatory scrutiny.

“We are concerned about the dangerous domino effect this has had on industry. Since stevedores started imposing these charges, other operators with significant supply chain power have also begun slugging transport operators.

“RFNSW and WARTA believe we need an independent body, ultimately the ACCC, to be called-in to put the brakes on the stevedores and start regulating landside port charges.

“We believe the recent Federal Court finding, which allows the ACCC to monitor and regulate pricing at the Port of Newcastle, means the ACCC should be in a position to review the situation at Australia’s ports,” he said.

“Accordingly, RFNSW and WARTA will make a joint submission to the ACCC, again calling for an investigation and independent umpire to review any financial charges.”

Mr O’Hara thanked Mr Dumesny for his support and said RFNSW looked forward to working with WARTA to advocate on behalf of members in both States.

Freight News: Meeting with TfNSW, meeting with SafeWork, ATO update on meal allowances, what to do with contractors who don’t comply, and more.

Meeting with TfNSW regarding Port Freight Strategy

An RFNSW delegation recently attended the office of Transport for NSW’s newest Freight Executive Director, Damien Colclough, and Rosemary Donnelly, to discuss the upcoming draft Port and Freight Strategy.

A number of issues were canvassed, including:
•Weights
•WiMS
•Access
•Residential encroachment
•WestConnex and the Port
•Various other issues affecting our operators

After two hours, we felt that a number of matters had been thoroughly addressed in our discussion with Damien and TfNSW.

RFNSW sought to work with TfNSW in its desire to improve the position of carriers around the Port. To that end, we will be meeting with Damien again to discuss mechanisms to ensure that your concerns are communicated and addressed in future plans.

Meeting with Habib Francis from BagTrans

I was fortunate to be able to meet with Habib Francis on Tuesday at Eastern Creek and have a discussion with him about BagTrans, as well as RFNSW. As many of you may know, Habib sits on the RFNSW Board and runs a successful business that has grown significantly in the last 10 years.

Over the coming weeks, I am taking time out to visit members and to ask them what is important to their business and how we can help them.
Read the 28 August 2017 issue here.

Freight News: Heavy Vehicle Taskforce meeting, ACCC should act on Port Botany taxes

Meeting with RMS at the Mount Ousley Heavy Vehicle Taskforce and RFNSW Conference

Last Thursday, I attended the Mount Ousley Heavy Vehicle Taskforce at the invitation of RMS. The purpose of the meeting was to receive feedback on a draft proposal for improving Mount Ousley for heavy vehicles.

During WWII the Americans built Mount Ousley to enable movement of materials to Wollongong and into the war effort. 52 000 vehicles use Mount Ousley daily and this forms the PBS A-double route (30 metres/85 tonnes) and forms the only 26 metre route into the Illawarra.

The guiding principles set out by the taskforce were to:

  • eliminate major incidents
  • eliminate network blockages
  • plan and deliver strategies for optimal safety, efficiency and reliability
  • target inappropriate speeds
  • reduce weaving manoeuvers
  • increase heavy vehicle education
  • communicate industry risk, consequences and actions.

Consequently, a construction plan to ensure that Mount Ousley is both safer and more productive was developed. This bypass plan was tabled for discussion together with what the new Mount Ousley would look like after construction. The time line for completion, assuming sign-off, is sometime in the mid-2020s.

The TWU also spoke on engagement in the region, as well as changes to Mount Ousley, and presented a video of how heavy vehicle drivers should effectively descend Mount Ousley. While there is an argument for greater and more effective driver training, the video gives a neat snapshot of how to handle the problematic Mount Ousley.

Picton Road was raised as a more problematic road with bottlenecks along it.

Lastly, 1300 DRIVER offered their counselling services for truck drivers and provided an insight into the industry for counselling, support and referral.

All in all, it was a productive meeting on what Mount Ousley could look like in the future. RFNSW aims to keep working with RMS on this into the future to improve productivity and safety for our carriers.

Consultations on Truck Drivers’ Meal Allowance

The ATA, NatRoad, QTA, VTA and TWU met in Sydney last week to discuss the reduction in the reasonable amount for truck driver meal allowances from $97.40 per day in 2016-17 to $55.30 in 2017-18. 

As well as concern about the issue itself, RFNSW is concerned about the effect on Enterprise Bargaining Agreements and how employers will deal with these changes as we are going into bargaining rounds.

RFNSW Conference – save the date!

The RFNSW Conference has been scheduled for 1 November at Rooty Hill for an afternoon conference with a dinner to follow.

There will be important announcements at the conference that can help your business save money as members of RFNSW. Tickets will go on sale soon.

Read the 21 August 2017 issue

Freight News: Heavy-Vehicle Access Forum, Cargo Facilitation Committee and more

Heavy-Vehicle Access Forum- Tuesday 8 August 2017

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the Heavy Vehicle Access Forum put together by the Shoalhaven City Council and the NHVR at Nowra.

We received a warm welcome from the Shoalhaven City Council Deputy Mayor and Councillor Patricia White who told us that Shoalhaven area was the second most visited location in NSW by motor vehicle.

The forum was one of the best run events I had attended on this topic and the discussions saw the NHVR give an insight into policy considerations and their impressive new online portal. The portal allows applicants, like our members, to easily put in applications for road access.

The RMS gave us a good understanding of their responsibilities and work in the Shoalhaven area. Among other things, they showed us the work required on some of the major bridges around Nowra that were built for trains, as well as other Victoria area vehicles that require monitoring and eventual replacement.

At lunch, participants were treated to an explanation of PBS vehicles. Additionally, it was interesting to hear from Manildra Group about their significant investment in their facility in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars.

RFNSW Conference – Save the date!

I am pleased to announce the RFNSW Conference has been scheduled for 1 November at Rooty Hill. This year we will kick off with business sessions in the afternoon, followed by dinner and drinks.

There will be important announcements at the conference that can help your business save money as members of RFNSW. Tickets will go on sale soon.

Read the 14 August 2017 issue. 

 

Freight News: PBS 2B Access, Container sub-committee meeting and more

Meeting with Transport for New South Wales

Last week Alliance Transport’s General Manager, John Preston, and I met with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) for a discussion around the plan for heavy vehicle in NSW. We engaged with TfNSW on a range of issues which we believe they were receptive to, and willing to consider in the future. We will continue to engage with TfNSW regarding details of some of their proposals and will seek your input as we consult around a draft strategy.
Container Sub-Committee Meeting on 7 August 2017

The Container Sub-committee meeting was held this morning at Marrickville Golf Club with NSW Ports and RMS speaking to our members.

RFNSW convened a meeting of members to discuss:

  • Infrastructure charges and other levies being put in place
  • Qantas Drive and the SACL meeting
  • Empty Container Parks
  • Submissions made around greater transparency of charges for tolls and landside surcharges
  • Operation of intermodals

This also gave me an opportunity to update members on developments with Linde and hand out copies of their Solutions Guide for Material Handling together with the brochure from our partners NTI and Make It Cheaper.

NSW Ports update

Adem gave a report from NSW Ports and handed out a copy of the NSW Ports Overview which you find here [PDF 8.3MB].
Adem took a variety of questions from members pertaining to the operation of NSW Ports.

RMS Update – PBS 2B Access

Government is expanding access for higher productivity Performance Based Standards (PBS) Level 2B vehicles transporting containers to and from Port Botany within the Greater Sydney Metropolitan area.

The companies involved in the current limited trial, as well as companies that have previously requested PBS 2B access at Port Botany, are being contacted by RMS to inform them that RMS is now considering PBS 2B access on a case-by-case basis. All operators may now apply for access under the expanded trial by applying to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator for an access permit for the transportation of containers. Access will be subject to conditions to manage the impact of these vehicles on the road network.

Luke added that in planning for the next stage of PBS 2B access beyond the now expanded trial, TfNSW and RMS will welcome the opportunity to meet with operators and industry organisations to discuss the productivity benefits of any new access arrangements. This will help inform planning to best manage the expansion of higher productivity vehicle access on the Sydney road network.

Mark Leach from RMS also answered questions and undertook to make representations regarding WIMs and queries arising out of their operation.

RFNSW thanks Adem, Luke and Mark for their time at our meeting today.

Read the 7 August 2017 issue.

Freight News – Container Sub-Committee Meeting 7 August 2017

Container Sub-Committee Meeting 7 August 2017

This meeting has been postponed from 2 August to 7 August due to problems with the venue.

The Next Container Sub-committee meeting will be held on 7 August 2017 from 11 am at Marrickville Golf Club with NSW Ports.

With the infrastructure charges and other levies being put in place, we aim to update members at this meeting regarding developments at Port Botany.

Additionally, we aim to update members on meetings with SACL and Sydney Airport’s Qantas Drive.

Lunch will be provided and we aim to hear from a range of speakers.

The agenda details are:

11 am – Meeting of the Container Group to discuss matters like Qantas Drive and infrastructure surcharges.
Midday – NSW Ports update
12.45 pm – RMS update
1.15 pm General discussion

Please email me at simon.ohara@rfnsw.com.au to RSVP so that we can ensure that we cater for your attendance.

ATO’s Lack of Consultation on Truck Drivers’ Meal Allowance

RFNSW raised this issue a few weeks ago in Freight News.

In what appears to be a developing story around consultation with industry bodies, the Australian Taxation Office has indicated that it did not receive any response from any industry body around its decision to reduce the amount allowed for meals without receipts from $97.40 to $55.30.

The ATO appears resolute that they sent industry an email seeking feedback. But a key question remains as to whether industry associations checking spam filters is a credible excuse from the ATO.

The ATA has come out swinging on this issue and saying its members (which, as you know, comprise state associations like RFNSW) will fight the determination, “because it made Australia’s truck drivers second class citizens”.

The ATA has also said that it “unequivocally supports all our member organisations in condemning this determination. In the determination, the tax office increased the reasonable food and drink allowance for comparable employees in other industries from $106.90 per day to $109.35 per day”.

RFNSW has sought an urgent meeting with the ATO to discuss this issue of the almost 50% reduction and the discrepancy between the trucking industry and other industries, who have gained an increased amount.

Read the 1 August 2017 issue.