The general public and, apparently the Federal Government, have discovered that the trucking industry isn’t quite so bad after all. They also found out that there are some safety issues around the trucking industry and on our roads and it would be a good idea throw some money at it. The amount of spending on road infrastructure can be argued about, but there is definitely more money in the pot than usual.
All of this would have sounded very strange in 2019, in 2020 the Australian public and the governments around the country have discovered that there is a trucking industry out there keeping the wheels of the economy moving and doing it with little fuss and virtually zero support.
It’s a shame that it takes crisis like the one which has been perpetrated by the coronavirus, but we should not look a gift horse in the mouth. There is a change in the public perception of the trucking industry as a result of our good behaviour and simply doing our job.
The fact of the matter is that before COVID-19 arrived, the trucking industry would move freight from A to B in an efficient and safe manner manner keeping the wheels of industry turning, keeping the supermarket shelves well stacked and keeping supply of seedlings on the shelves at Bunnings.
The difference is in 2019, nobody noticed, and nobody cared, our industry was invisible to just about everybody until there was a truck accident or some other unfortunate incident. With everybody in lockdown and people worried about supermarket supplies not coming in, a factor which led to the crazy panic buying we saw early on in the pandemic, all of a sudden the supply chain became very visible to ordinary people.
Now, we could just sit back and rest and our laurels, congratulating ourselves on suddenly becoming an industry that the public not only notices, but is grateful for. Instead, the trucking industry should look at the current situation as an opportunity, an opportunity to change the overall perception of the trucking industry more permanently than it would be if we left it to the normal news’ cycle.
This is the point at which the trucking industry needs to build upon the goodwill which currently exists. This is the time to advertise all of the great careers which trucking can offer to young school leavers.
The trucking industry is approaching and age crisis, as our truck drivers get older and closer to retiring age, while at the same time there is not a flow of replacements moving into the industry at a younger age. There is only one way to change that, get young people interested in the industry and when we’ve got them interested, keep them, don’t let them drift off into other careers which look more exciting to them.
Young people need to be convinced that the trucking industry is for then, that it has exciting career prospects. They need to understand that they will not be treated badly by others in the industry. We need to be welcoming to anyone who fancies having a go, and by anyone, I mean anyone.