Volvo pres­i­dent vis­its Hed­land

North West Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - David Mered­ith

Pil­bara Heavy Haulage Girls’ Heather Jones got some very good news a month ago when a call from out­go­ing Volvo Group Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Peter Voorho­eve made her day.

Volvo has col­lab­o­rated with PHHG for the past cou­ple of years.

It’s a two-way street: Ms Jones’ group is mainly fo­cused on driver train­ing and re­cruit­ment but she is also re­quired to drop ev­ery­thing, travel any­where and work as a Volvo Trucks am­bas­sador do­ing me­dia, pre­sen­ta­tions to au­thor­i­ties, school vis­its and Volvo events where the com­pany wants to em­pha­sise the huge re­cruit­ment job the in­dus­try faces.

With trans­port ex­pand­ing and chang­ing rapidly, the support of op­er­a­tors and govern­ments to keep the wheels rolling is es­sen­tial.

The Per­for­mance Based Stan­dards scheme got started in 2007 and, af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing some ini­tial stormy wa­ters, has grown into a world-recog­nised sys­tem of op­ti­mis­ing road trans­port.

Data col­lected by the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion con­firms PBS ve­hi­cles ex­pe­ri­ence fewer crashes, carry larger pay­loads in fewer trips and gen­er­ate lower emis­sions and less road main­te­nance. But that’s just the hard­ware. No mat­ter how ef­fi­cient it is, it all has to be driven and, un­til full au­ton­omy is on Aus­tralian roads, driv­ers will be re­quired ei­ther to drive the truck or mon­i­tor its progress from the front seat.

The steady eco­nomic re­cov­ery since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, plus the re­vival of min­ing ex­pan­sion and ac­tiv­ity, has sparked a new short­age in qual­i­fied driv­ers, espe­cially for the mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar multi-trailer rigs that are the norm in the North West.

Large fleets are in­sist­ing on two to five years ex­pe­ri­ence in han­dling th­ese rigs, mainly be­cause no one can cer­tify ad­e­quate train­ing.

It’s the rea­son one big con­trac­tor has re­cently had up to 10 quad road trains sit­ting idle be­cause of a lack of qual­i­fied driv­ers.

That’s why Volvo con­sid­ers train­ing groups such as PHHG a top pri­or­ity for the in­dus­try — so much so that re­cently, Volvo Group’s global chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Lund­st­edt di­verted to Port Hed­land af­ter open­ing the group’s new head of­fice in Queens­land, and met with the PHHG team at Truck Cen­tre’s fa­cil­ity. The ex­ten­sion of the PHHG col­lab­o­ra­tion is tied to Volvo’s pas­sion­ate drive to get new peo­ple on the road as pro­fes­sional driv­ers. The com­pany leads the in­dus­try in push­ing for higher stan­dards of train­ing.

With Volvo’s support, PHHG has so far put 60 driv­ers through its train­ing pro­gram, with a 95 per cent suc­cess rate in plac­ing them in full-time driv­ing work.

Martin Lund­st­edt, global chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Volvo Group, cen­tre, lis­tens to Heather Jones.

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