EDITORIAL: As prices jump, only the smartest will survive

By: Jason Whittaker

The response to the agreement on big hikes in truck charges last week was met with typical anger from the

The response to the agreement on big hikes in truck charges last week was met with typical anger from the trucking industry. Many who contacted ATN called for protests and blockades. One declared they'd leave the industry altogether.

The anger is understandable. But misplaced. It’s too early to throw in the towel. And protests and blockades won’t solve anything. In fact, any support the trucking industry has against higher costs would quickly dissipate.

Nor does it make sense, as some have suggested, to sell off high-cost B-doubles in favour of paying lower rego — and carrying smaller loads — on semis. Operators must increase their payload for customers in the current environment, not slash it.

There’s no question these latest increases will ruin some. Many operators will struggle to pass on the costs to reluctant customers. It’s a cruel, potentially devastating hit to an industry that battles with low margins and increasing demands for greater productivity.

Those that survive and thrive will be the smartest, not the angriest. An increasing cost burden requires good cost management and good relationship management. Don’t get mad. Break even.

Governments must be held accountable for these increases. If the argument is operators must pay more for a rising road investment bill, then that money must be returned to the road. Drivers should feel the difference as they run up and down the highways.

This tax slug must not be allowed to disappear down the black hole of so-called consolidated government revenue. Your representatives in the trucking industry are making the point as strongly as they can.

Your job is to stay competitive. To be the smartest businesspeople you can be. To manage costs intelligently to ensure you’re not made to bear the brunt of this latest cost slug.

In this changed game, only the smartest will survive.

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