Trucking puts onus on grain receivers to act

Bumper harvest will keep trucking operators busy. LBCA says grain receivers must ensure drivers are not forced to queue

By Ruza Zivkusic | October 14, 2010

The trucking industry is putting the onus on grain receivers to ensure drivers are not forced to queue to deliver what is expected to be a bumper harvest.

With 40 million tonnes of grain expected this season, the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA) says receivers must do their job efficiently to keep waiting times down.

"It doesn’t matter how many trucks we’ve got, if grain receival points don’t have efficient ways to offload a truck then we’re always going to have queues," LBCA Executive Director Andrew Higginson says.

"It’s a two-edge sword; anyone in a queue for more than 30 minutes will have a responsibility to think about their fatigue."

With the single desk system gone, the question of how the new market will act remains to be answered, Higginson says.

"Eight years ago there were people that consistently did freight tasks, road and rail, but over the last years a lot of people have fallen out of the industry; the truck availability is going to be an interesting thing.’’

Australian Grain Harvester Association (AGHA) President Graham Mullholland says farmers and receivers will also feel the pressure.

"There is going to be a shortage of trucks and trains because you only have to do acquisitions on what bearers are predicting in volumes of grain and work out the number of trucks registered commercially to transport grain," Mullholland says.

"This is one of the best winters so far but it will put a lot of pressure on truck companies and driver hours because no one knows how long it’s going to take to unload. Everyone is in the same predicament, we just have to play it by ear and wait and see how the infrastructure holds up."

Jill Lewis from the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association says the industry is "pretty geared up" for the harvest and operators are ready to help move the grain due to a train shortage.

"The trucking industry will step up to the plate like they’ve always done when needed to," Lewis says.

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