NatRoad director: some customers do not care about chain of responsibility

By: Steve Skinner

Leading regional operator Steve Fieldus says he knows of customers who care about the chain of responsibility, and others who don’t.

NatRoad director: some customers do not care about chain of responsibility
Steve Fieldus says there is still a lot of work to do to improve customer management of driver fatigue.


Steve Fieldus is a third generation truckie and one of those people who "gives back" to the industry he’s spent his whole life in.

Based in Dubbo in the central west of New South Wales, Fieldus is managing director of Transforce, an increasingly diversified trucking company he has built up from one truck 15 years ago.

With more than 20 modern trucks and 15 sub-contractors, Transforce carts grain and fertiliser and other bulk agricultural goods, general freight and now dangerous goods and heavy machinery as well.

Running a show like that is a big enough job as it is, but Fieldus also finds time for honorary positions on the board of NatRoad and as president of Grain NSW.

Not to mention being a trucking pioneer, gaining approval for the first quin dog trailer in NSW, and establishing the first carbon-neutral trucking operation in Australia.

And Fieldus has some blunt assessments on the chain of responsibility awareness of clients.

"They're not aware enough about how much they are actually in the chain, and if they do realise that there in the chain somewhere, they just bury their head in the sand really," Fieldus says.

"Not all, but a lot."

"We have some major clients that are very professional in the way they ensure that we are compliant to our link in the chain under COR, but you have also got some clients who wouldn't have a clue — and really don't care, until something happens, and then they will deal with it."

With all his various hats on, Fieldus knows of and has heard about a lot of rural trucking customers.

So he knows that chain of responsibility is a concept which is yet to take off in the bush.

However, there are some improvements, Fieldus says.

Take pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines: "There’s no such thing anymore really," he says.

But when it comes to customer management of driver fatigue, there is still a long road to travel.

"You can get to some of the sites and sit there for half a day before they will unload you, or before they will load you," Fieldus laments.

"Or they don't communicate that well that they have a problem at this site, so you arrive there and you can't load or unload, so they either send you to another site or say ‘bad luck you will have to come back tomorrow’. How do you manage your business around that?

"If you are going to have a chain of responsibility, don't just target one or two links in the chain. Are we going to the right links in the chain? Not always." 

You can read a lot more about Steve Fieldus in the January issue of ATN.

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