Industry warned: 'Tsunami' of challenges on the way

Trucking operators urged to get proactive to attract workers, amid warnings of a “tsunami” of challenges on the horizon

By Ruza Zivkusic | June 9, 2011

Trucking operators are being urged get proactive to shield themselves from skills shortages, amid warnings the industry faces a "tsunami" of challenges.

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Phil Lovel says transport companies need to keep up with new technology and to train their staff so prospective employees are attracted to the industry.

Unless the right structures are implemented, Lovel believes some operators will be wiped out.

"We are struggling to attract drivers; we’ve got a real problem and we have known about it for a long time," he says.

Recruitment firm Hays says prospective transport employees are more focused on trying to make it into the mining sector.

"We are getting situations where we are getting candidates that work in transport saying ‘do you have any transport opportunities in the mining sector’," senior regional manager Tim James says.

"Obviously people want to work in that sector and that’s not a surprise because they know there’s longevity of work and they pay better."

Lovel says skills shortages are one part of a number of problems facing transport operators.

"We have a real tsunami coming across the industry – lack of drivers, huge compliance costs, cost recovery, increase in interest rates, fuel charges, the growing freight task, credit availability, accidents and community safety concerns," he says.

"We have talked for years about the freight being left behind – we might do freight tomorrow instead of today and it might be delayed for three days because we don’t have the drivers to deal with the capacity or we’re stuck in congestion."

Lovel’s comments come just weeks out from increases to the minimum wage, registration fees and the road user charge.

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