More driver train­ing un­der way…. but freight costs set to in­crease

New Zealand Truck & Driver - - Feature - By David Aitken, CEO of Na­tional Road Car­ri­ers

IT IS GREAT TO SEE THE IN­DUS­TRY GET BE­HIND THE NEW Com­mer­cial Road Trans­port (CRT) pro­gramme, which started re­cently at Manukau In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. Al­ready some stu­dents have done two months of prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence with En­vi­rowaste and are about to start an­other block with the Toll Group.

They have gained their class two li­cences af­ter the ini­tial sec­tion of class­room work. NRC is happy to work with MIT to get more trained driv­ers into our in­dus­try.

Other com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Halls Trans­port, Waste Man­age­ment, C.V. Comp­ton Trans­port, TDM Con­struc­tion, Main­stream Freight and OJI Fi­bre So­lu­tions, have all put up their hands to pro­vide prac­ti­cal on-the-job ex­pe­ri­ence for CRT pro­gramme stu­dents.

The prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence in­volves one day a week and will con­tinue to the end of the year. The va­ri­ety of trans­port com­pa­nies com­ing for­ward to host stu­dents is a pos­i­tive, as they need to ex­pe­ri­ence the dif­fer­ent kinds of truck­ing op­er­a­tions that can po­ten­tially be their fu­ture full­time jobs.

Sim­i­lar cour­ses are al­ready run­ning at Toi Ohomai Polytech­nic at Tau­ranga; North Tec, Whangarei; Eastern In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy at Gis­borne; Whi­tireia Polytech, Porirua and South­ern In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, In­ver­cargill.

Plans are well un­der way to es­tab­lish fur­ther CRT pro­grammes at Ara Polytech, Ti­maru and in Christchurch, Hawke’s Bay and Hamil­ton.

These cour­ses pro­vide the mix of class­room ac­tiv­ity to meet reg­u­la­tions and the ini­tial prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence the stu­dents need and the in­dus­try wants to em­ploy.

En­cour­aged by the ini­tial re­sponse, MIT is al­ready look­ing to dou­ble the num­ber of stu­dents on its next course, which will start early in 2019.

Apart from the need for more trained driv­ers, the other big is­sue fac­ing the road trans­port in­dus­try is the spec­tre of cost in­creases.

Road user charges have just gone up – some by as much as 10%, de­pend­ing on the weight and type of ve­hi­cle.

This will af­fect ev­ery truck­ing com­pany na­tion­wide. When the ma­jor­ity of goods we con­sume are de­liv­ered by trucks to where they’re pur­chased, it is in­evitable the cost of the goods will in­crease.

Other cost in­creases fac­ing road trans­port op­er­a­tors in­clude ris­ing fuel prices, in­sur­ance, wages and salaries, con­ges­tion and wait­ing times at the ports.

Auck­land- based com­pa­nies are al­ready pay­ing 11.5 cents per litre ex­tra for fuel. A na­tion­wide gen­eral fuel ex­cise tax in­crease by nine to 12 cents over the next two years is also on the hori­zon.

As an in­dus­try we can­not be ex­pected to keep ab­sorb­ing op­er­a­tional cost in­creases of this mag­ni­tude, all the time. We have to pass it on to our cus­tomers.

There have also been in­creases in in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums and higher wages and salaries nec­es­sary to re­tain staff in an in­dus­try where there are per­son­nel short­ages.

Our costs are ris­ing. It’s up to in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies to cal­cu­late how much their cost in­creases might be. In some parts of the coun­try it could be more than in other ar­eas.

A suc­cess­ful com­pany is one that is still in busi­ness. That means re­cov­er­ing all your costs from cus­tomers, oth­er­wise you will strug­gle to pro­vide the ser­vices they ex­pect.

Fi­nally, con­grat­u­la­tions to all the in­ductees to the Hall of Fame – in par­tic­u­lar, Cal­ven Bon­ney...long­time Na­tional Road Car­ri­ers As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber, board mem­ber and RTF Di­rec­tor.

This is great recog­ni­tion for the con­tri­bu­tion Cal­ven has made to the in­dus­try and comes on top of him be­ing made a Mem­ber of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit ear­lier in the year. T&D

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