There have been some major changes in the way. operators in the trucking industry think about their business and one of the questions they will be asking themselves is how mature is your industry?
All of us working in the trucking industry have to admit that we come from a history in which trucking was often a shady business there was plenty of law breaking and plenty of shonky operations involved.
Trucking operators went bust at regular intervals, and in some places, small wars would break out between operators. Happily, for us, those days are just about gone and the trucking industry has moved into the modern world in a series of stages.
The initial shock of the Grafton truck and bus crash saw the more rational elements in the industry take on the challenge of improving the industry’s image and its performance. That is the point at which safety became the big issue it remains today.
This was not a immediate overnight change in the nature of the trucking industry. It has been a very small steps, small iterations as the way businesses have been run, and the type of work which businesses do, have made incremental improvements year on year. We are now at the point, where there is a lot of rationality in the trucking industry and a lot of sound business heads making decisions, and fewer hotheads making irrational decisions.
From the point of view of those inside the industry, we have cleaned up our act, become more responsible and are much, much safer than we were in the past. We run our businesses in a way of which those in any business sector would be proud.
If there is one aspect of this development, which is still not proving that effective, it is in the way that the rest of society thinks of our industry as a whole. There is still the lingering image of the overweight truckie with his blue singlet, footie shorts and thongs wandering into the service station. This is an image which many members of the public still have in their heads.
Rightfully, many in this industry will turn around and say, the perception on behalf of the public is that but we know for a fact that that is not the reality within our industry. It is not the reality within the industry, but those members of the public who think like that also vote and also have priorities which they think the politicians, the road authorities, and the police should follow.
If they continue to regard the trucking industry as the image suggests, they are not going to support the kinds of smart rational legislation and regulation that we need to make the trucking industry more attractive to new entrants and also less of a pariah in the eyes of our detractors.
We are getting some gains, in terms of rationality. We are now dealing with a much more rational industry regulator in the NHVR.
In this article, I’m not suggesting that the trucking industry is as bad as it used to be but, that perception is reality, and the perception by many people in this country is still that of the daggy truckie. driving aggressively on our highways.
This is the image which we need to dispel, to get the perception of the industry to the point where governments will feel comfortable in allowing the industry what it needs to get the job done much more productively. We need to do something, there’s an increasing freight task and a decreasing number of people wishing to work in trucking.