Bleak times ahead for road freight, Ablett warns

Veteran carrier says current conditions remind him of 1990s recession and warns operators to keep an eye on cashflow

Bleak times ahead for road freight, Ablett warns
Bleak times ahead for road freight, Ablett warns
By Tamara Whitsed | June 22, 2012

Veteran trucking owner Ray Ablett was warned of bleak times ahead for operators and says they must focus on their cashflow to stay in business.

Ablett, who runs the NSW-based Abletts Transport, says the current economic climate reminds him of the lead-up to the recession of the 1990s, which he says nearly sent him broke.

He believes demand for local and interstate freight will continue to decrease, and has some advice for other transport companies.

"Make sure you’re not geared up too much. Make sure your customers are good payers. Don’t be frightened to leave a customer if he’s going to fall over. Cashflow is everything. If you haven’t got cashflow you haven’t got [anything]," Ablett says.

Abletts Transport, which operates 50 trucks and employs 90 people in operations spanning Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, is bracing for a significant hit once the fuel excise increases 2.4 cents per litre on July 1.

The change will reduce the industry’s fuel tax credit to 12.6 cents per litre.

Ablett estimates the increase will cost his company $337,000 next financial year.

"You have to recoup that from somewhere," he says.

Ablett says the carbon tax, which he is opposed to, is more difficult to measure. Trucking has been spared from the tax for two years once it begins on July 1.

The tax will apply to trucking on July 1, 2014 through an increase in the excise of 6.8 cents per litre.

See the July edition of ATN for the full interview with Ray Ablett.

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