Big retailers promise action on DC truck queues

Retailers vow to introduce stricter time slotting and slash truck queues under new agreement.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says it has incorporated time slot and queuing principles and standards into the existing Retail Logistics Supply Chain Code of Conduct after winning agreement from signatories.

ALC Chief Executive Hal Morris says it is the first step in ensuring truck drivers have more time to do their jobs and less sitting in queues outside depots.

The new principles aim to improve on-time delivery, truck turnaround times and compliance with chain of responsibility and safety requirements.

"Retailers, along with transport and logistics providers, have been working proactively together to address these problems and I am proud that this positive step forward has been made to make a real difference," Morris says.

"The transport industry has long run up against long queues of trucks at dispatch and receipt locations and this will bite even harder with the soon to be introduced national fatigue laws that will class the time in the queues as driving time.

"Inconsistent time slotting and queuing practices has resulted in drivers waiting unacceptable time before loading or unloading, in some cases for many hours, leading to drivers exceeding their driving hours and also to unnecessary additional emissions, particularly from cold storage which must be kept running while waiting.

"This hits drivers particularly hard when they are paid by kilometre, not by the time spent at the wheel, thereby encouraging unsafe driving practices.

Under the code, signatories – including Coles, Woolworths, Franklins, Metcash and other major retailers – agree to implement best practice in an auditable framework.

The incorporation of time slotting and queuing principles and standards into the RLSC Code of Conduct audit framework has been endorsed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and the code of conduct management committee.

"The code of conduct is proven to improve safety, performance and reliability, delivering benefits for business and its workers," Morris says.

"I urge all companies, including manufacturers, who have not yet joined the code of conduct to do so to gain these real benefits for their supply chains."

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