Nominations open for 2017 NZ Road Transport Industry Awards
WHEN IT COMES TO CELEBRATING OUR successes and the people who go the extra mile in our industry “we’re often a little shy in coming forward,” says Road Transport Forum Chief Executive Ken Shirley. “It’s as though the very Kiwi trait of self-deprecation and modesty, of never wishing to blow one’s own trumpet or stand out from the pack, is an unwritten rule in our industry,” Shirley says.
This year the road transport industry has faced particularly tough challenges and has once again proved its resilience and adaptability to meet those challenges. Not least of all has been the closure of State Highway 1 through Kaikoura and the much more gruelling task of getting freight between Picton and Christchurch.
“Those outside our industry just do not realise how much effort and hard work has gone into maintaining the freight links through the top of the South Island,” Shirley says.
“In many respects, we are a victim of our own success. Within hours of the earthquake and the news that the road and rail link through Kaikoura would be out of action, road transport operators had plans in place to get the job done.
“Initial news coverage suggested that Christchurch and locations further south should expect significant delays to freight and there were many wild and woolly theories as to what should be done to alleviate that.
“The reality was that the road transport sector put its head down, reworked its timetables and just got on with satisfying the new freight task. This was all done with very little fuss and in such a seamless fashion that the customer hasn’t really been affected at all.”
Says Shirley: “The maintenance of the freight link between Picton and Christchurch is an extraordinary achievement – yet there’s very little recognition of it.”
The earthquake is only one example of how the resilience and adaptability of the road transport industry has overcome enormous challenges to carry out the freight task over the last year or so, he points out: “Floods, cyclones, slips and the increasing traffic congestion of our main centres have thrown up major problems that our industry, one way or another, has been able to surmount.”
He suggests that “perhaps this year’s New Zealand Road Transport Industry Awards are an appropriate opportunity to acknowledge the members of our industry who have shown resourcefulness and ingenuity in dealing with these challenges.”
There are five awards – four of which seek to honour activities and achievements that ultimately improve the daily lives of people in the industry – making it a rewarding and safe environment to work in.
They are: The Industry Innovation Award, the Outstanding Contribution to Training Award, the Outstanding Contribution to Health and Safety and the overall Supreme Contribution to NZ Road Transport Award.
Finally, there’s the NZ Road Transport Hero Award – a prestigious award, given only in exceptional circumstances. The award recognises the actions of a fulltime member of the road freight industry who, in the course of their normal workday, rescues or attempts to rescue a fellow traveller from a life-threatening situation – averting death or more serious injury through their actions.
Says Shirley: “We know there are plenty of people out there doing great things on the road and in their businesses. So, if you have an outstanding achiever in your company – or even a respected competitor – then get that nomination in.
“Let’s put aside our modesty and celebrate the hard work, resilience and perseverance that is a hallmark of the road transport industry.”
The awards will be presented at the gala Industry Awards Dinner on Saturday November 11, at the conclusion of the RTF Conference in Hamilton.
“Every year this event gets bigger and better and is a fantastic way to acknowledge our award winners,” says Shirley: “The dinner has become a real highlight on the industry calendar.”
Criteria and nomination forms for each of the awards can be found in the events section of the RTF website, www.rtfnz.co.nz – where registration for the conference and awards dinner are also available.