Não repara a bagunça
In Brazil, it means ‘ Don’t mind the mess’. But they did. What would happen here?
ithout trucks, Australia stops. If you like the saying, get the limited edition (well 2,999 of them according to one online purveyor) stainless steel watch for just shy of $200.
It’s a terrific statement in the Australian way of passive-aggressive messaging. It states the obvious to make the point of the industry’s value and leaves unsaid the ugly reality of what that might follow.
As one man said in an online questions-and-answers site: “Without trucks, Australia’s f*cked.”
Yet, arguably, the power implied has only really been used to game- changing effect once in our history, during the Razorback protest.
What might it look like now, if such were ever to happen again in earnest? Well, we might never know but, if things go really bad here, a clue might be found in South America.
Brazil recently went through a convulsion reported globally and, at time of writing, a union-inspired tilt at a 27 per cent pay rise was underway in incompetently run Argentina.
But let’s backtrack a little. Last year, Fernando Zingler, executive director of IPTC, the Instituto Paulista do Transporte de Cargas, a freight transport industry research body, escorted a delegation of Brazilian managers and experts to see how things are done here. Zingler tells ATN that of special interest was Chain of Responsibility developments and the safety implications.
“We have been observing the impacts in your country because this is something that interest us a lot,” he says. “We have a lot of accidents in our country because the lack of investments in safety components for the trucks.”
The latter was in part due to low rates of return or “fares” as he calls them, which is also hindering national fleet modernisation.
“What we saw in Australia, regarding brakes and maintenance inspections made by the government is really interesting, and as far I as remember it was receiving mixed perceptions by the companies,” Zingler recalls.
“We have started discussions here in Brazil about your regulation, focusing mostly on the ‘shared responsibility’ component of the accidents, which today relies only on the trucking company here in Brazil.”
Of the national strike, he notes that the trigger was a 22 per cent rise in diesel prices over 12 months but the gunpowder was four years of economic crisis that had sapped all confidence in the government. This, in a country that is one of the world’s biggest exporters of oil.
The dynamic of the resistance was driven by owner- drivers but transport companies became part of it as well.
“These daily increases in oil, which is the main component of the costs of the industry, created an instability for the autonomous drivers, and also the companies, who would drive for over 1,000 kilometres and find a huge difference in the prices of the fuel when trying to refuel to go back,” Zingler says.
“In summary, that is what happened in our country. The owner- drivers were the only ones who organised the strike and made the demands for the government, which included changes in the fuel pricing system, changes in the tolls fares, and a minimum fare standard table for transportation.
“Since the trucking company is highly dependent of this segment, companies also were forced to stop the deliveries, since they did not have fuel and could not cross the barriers.
“And now we have other difficulties, because this new minimum fare standard table system, which now is mandatory for road freight transportation, has created a lot of questions and rage in some segments, because it has increased the fares drastically for some companies, and have a lot of inconsistencies for the trucking companies to implement.”
It is to be seen if the cure’s side effects can be overcome but the action brought Brazil to a 10- day standstill and there are lessons are bound to be learned.
It’s just depends who is in class.
“Companies also were forced to stop deliveries, since they did not have fuel”