Over­size in­dus­try ap­plauded

New Zealand Truck & Driver - - Feature - By Jonathan Bhana-Thomson – chief ex­ec­u­tive, New Zealand Heavy Haulage As­so­ci­a­tion

OVER­ALL, THE OVER­SIZE IN­DUS­TRY SEC­TOR TOOK A re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude to the Level 4 lock­down – and stayed at home. The de­bate in New Zealand was around what was es­sen­tial and non-es­sen­tial freight move­ment, and while most in­dus­tries that over­size trans­port op­er­a­tors ser­vice were in lock­down, op­er­a­tors ac­cepted that the best way to con­trol the virus spread in NZ was for them also to be at home.

Con­trast this with the si­t­u­a­tion in Aus­tralia, the United States and United King­dom, where all freight was deemed able to travel. Ob­vi­ously, in times to come, there will be others who look into what the best ap­proach was – how­ever most over­size op­er­a­tors here were will­ing to stay in lock­down…if this meant that we were all able to get back to work sooner, and the over­all ef­fect on the econ­omy was less se­vere.

Nev­er­the­less, it was with some re­lief that most over­size op­er­a­tors and as­so­ci­ated in­dus­try clients re­turned to work un­der the Level 3 re­stric­tions.

How­ever it needs to be recog­nised that the over­size in­dus­try by and large took the heed to stay in lock­down se­ri­ously and didn’t push the en­ve­lope on what freight was deemed to be es­sen­tial freight.

There were a few over­size loads that were con­sid­ered to be es­sen­tial. A ma­jor over­size task was clear­ing a shipload of 99 wind tur­bine blades that needed to be moved out of Port Taranaki, in New Ply­mouth, to make room for other in­bound freight ar­riv­ing off other ships.

There were also other equip­ment move­ments out of other ports, goods moved for the pri­mary sec­tor, and also some large man­u­fac­tured items that needed to be trans­ported to the Ports of Auck­land, to be shipped to Melbourne for health­care pur­poses.

This has been a chal­leng­ing pe­riod and the sup­port from Gov­ern­ment in terms of the wage sub­sidy was cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ated by the over­size in­dus­try – as were other fi­nan­cial mea­sures.

In terms of gov­ern­men­tal agency sup­port, it needs to be recog­nised that the two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion with both the Min­istry of Trans­port and the NZ Trans­port Agency was con­sid­er­able. The NZ Heavy Haulage As­so­ci­a­tion was in­cluded in many con­fer­ence calls to keep us up to date with de­vel­op­ments and the Agency in par­tic­u­lar was very in­ter­ested to hear from in­dus­try about what our is­sues were and how they could as­sist with them.

They didn’t man­age to achieve ev­ery­thing that would have en­abled the over­size in­dus­try to work more ef­fi­ciently at Level 3, but we hope that the open com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels and at­ti­tude to­wards solv­ing prob­lems in con­junc­tion with in­dus­try will con­tinue into the fu­ture.

A key role that the as­so­ci­a­tion also car­ried out was the writ­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion to mem­bers of a guid­ance doc­u­ment and tem­plate for a Site Safety Plan for op­er­at­ing un­der Level 3. A lot of in­dus­try groups have de­vel­oped th­ese, but be­cause of the unique op­er­a­tion of the over­size in­dus­try – in­volv­ing teams of work­ers in­clud­ing load pi­lots, over­head es­corts and other sub­con­trac­tors – the as­so­ci­a­tion de­vel­oped tem­plate doc­u­ments that mem­bers could adapt to their own op­er­a­tions, in par­tic­u­lar high­light­ing phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing, con­tact trac­ing and sani­tis­ing.

This last cou­ple of months have been chal­leng­ing for the over­size in­dus­try, but the re­spon­si­ble and pro-ac­tive mea­sures that the mem­bers and the as­so­ci­a­tion have taken will stand us in good stead for the fu­ture. T&D

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