Covid burden squeezing Sydney industry says RFNSW


Confluence of tight rates, high costs and disruption seen as unsustainable

Covid burden squeezing Sydney industry says RFNSW
Simon O’Hara

 

Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has warned of the growing financial and mental pressure that Sydney transport operators and their drivers are suffering.

The increasing extra load threatens company viability and comes as they continue to work through the Covid pandemic, complying with regular surveillance testing and other heavy vehicle regulations, the state industry body emphasised.

According to the latest RFNSW member feedback, the additional costs of masks and hand sanitiser, workplace cleaning services, construction shutdown, updated IT systems and the time truckies, forklift drivers and other warehouse support workers are off for mandatory Covid testing, is reducing productivity and the existing tight margins for freight operators, many of them small to medium-sized family businesses.

"Our members are telling us that they’re certainly feeling the pinch," RFNSW chief executive Simon O’Hara said.

"Even before the pandemic, freight rates have been incredibly tight, but the extra cost of doing business throughout the Covid pandemic is eroding returns to unsustainable levels.

"Having drivers tested every three days and the ongoing delays at border crossings are reducing working hours and leading to huge productivity losses for transport operators, who have already been struggling with the financial pressures caused by ever-increasing port surcharges, road tolls and unfair rego costs.

"For some smaller operators, it’s simply not sustainable.

"These freight businesses in south west and western Sydney are the engine-room of the State’s economy, continuing to supply food, groceries and medicines across the city, the rest of NSW and interstate throughout the pandemic.

"It’s absolutely critical that they remain fully-operational and viable to ensure that vital supply chains aren’t disrupted, particularly the heartland of NSW logistics, Western Sydney."


Read how RFNSW flagged the extra pressures of lockdowns, here


RFNSW also highlighted the psychological toll the situation is taking.

"RFNSW is concerned that it’s not only a financial cost on industry because this added stress is also affecting the mental and emotional health of operators and their drivers alike," O’Hara said.

"They’re all doing it tough.

"As we know, our truckies have been outstanding, working tirelessly on the frontline throughout these difficult times and we’re asking for greater recognition of the growing pressures our industry is experiencing, so that operators and their drivers can be better supported and get on with the job of supplying essential goods to the community."

 

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