Thanks for stepping up
ABIG THANKYOU TO EVERYONE IN the road transport industry for doing such a great job to keep this country moving during the various lockdown levels of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The industry has stepped up to make sure food, medicines and other essential goods have been delivered.
Every day, drivers, logistics staff and service providers have risked their health and wellbeing to ensure essential freight is delivered to where it’s needed. You are the backbone of the country.
In these uncertain and challenging times it’s been great to see the hard work and sacrifice the road transport sector is making. The transportation of goods is one of the most important functions in a time like this – to ensure the country can function.
The industry has stood up in times of trouble before and is doing so again in what is the most significant event many of us have experienced.
I would also like to recognise and thank the members of the NRC team, who have worked from early morning until late at night for weeks to make sure the road transport community has been getting the information you need in a timely manner.
So thanks to Jason Heather, Paula Rogers, Richie Arber and Marie Klokova for your dedication – you’ve been amazing.
We’ve received many phone calls and emails from members thanking us for the information and support we have provided and Paula even received a call from a
Waiuku company owner checking-in that our team was okay. Everyone has been looking out for everyone.
There has been no shortage of challenges since the Prime Minister announced on Monday March 23 that the country would go into Level 4 lockdown for four weeks.
The NRC and Road Transport Forum teams worked hard to sort out these challenges.
We’ve kept up a regular stream of emails and website updates addressing the issues and helping to answer members’ questions, starting with: “What are essential vehicles?” And “what are essential goods?” We needed to clarify very quickly what drivers could and couldn’t do.
Toilet facilities, plus food and drink – basic needs for drivers on the road – then became a concern that gained media attention.
Richie touched base with every council in New Zealand to explain our dilemma and ask what facilities they had open. We got replies from every single council – and Civil Defence Emergency, Mobil and Z Energy helped as well – so we could help create a list and share it.
Richie also took on the role of creating a database of available drivers should anyone need them. That started when some drivers called us to say they were out of work.
We turned that around and sent an email asking which of those drivers would like to work, where they were from and what their work experience was. Within 24 hours we had 200 emails and the database eventually grew to 360 drivers. We have had several companies emailing us looking for multiple drivers and we were able to provide relevant names, based on location and experience.
Jason has acted as the conduit between the container operators and the container network, such as Ports of Auckland, Ports of Tauranga, Metroport and the container yards.
There have still been about 700 containers a day coming off POAL alone, equating to 1400 truck movements. Jason has consolidated all the information into one daily bulletin, while also spending time dealing with container operators’ issues.
Paula describes the work the NRC team has done over this period as “problemsolving.” For example, she has worked on getting water pumps through to droughtstricken Northland, communicating the easing of regulations, CoFs and permits and helping to answer more than 100 calls a day to the NRC’s virtual office.
Marie has been creating infographics to make things easier to understand and getting all our communication and bulletins out the door by email and social media. She has also had the gratifying task of receiving and collating all the positive messages from members.
I would also like to thank all the other services providers that remained open to ensure drivers could continue to operate – the mechanics, tyre suppliers, panelbeaters, parts suppliers and others.
And we must acknowledge the support we have received from the authorities – AT, MoT, NZTA, CVST. They have been very helpful, working alongside a select group of our members including Pamela Bonney and Chris Carr, to understand industry concerns.
We have also run focus groups via Zoom, to get industry feedback to pass on to the agencies – who have also wanted to ensure essential goods keep moving.
We are operating in unique and difficult times. But the whole transport sector has done a fantastic job. You have made the industry and the country proud. T&D