Não repara a bagunça

In Brazil, it means ‘ Don’t mind the mess’. But they did. What would hap­pen here?

Australian Transport News - - FORWARD VISION -

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”

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